Can Amphibians Help Conserve Native Fishes?

By Niall G. Clancy | Department of Ecology, Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, Montana 59717. E-mail: [email protected]

Native fish populations have continued to decline worldwide despite advances in management practices. As such, new approaches are needed to complement the old. In many flowing and standing waters, larval amphibians are the dominant vertebrate taxa. This can be important to fisheries due to amphibians’ ability to influence macroinvertebrate communities, alter benthic habitat, and supply nutrients in aquatic systems. These changes can, in turn, affect the ecology and fitness of other aquatic organisms such as fishes. Due to their large effects in some systems, it is suggested that fisheries managers carefully consider actions that may affect amphibian populations and actively conserve them in some cases. Preservation of riparian areas and amphibian associated microhabitats may even be used as a tool to positively impact freshwater fisheries by conserving amphibians that help maintain aquatic systems. Therefore, knowledge of local amphibian life histories and behaviors may be important in conserving associated freshwater fisheries.

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