Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Paper: Fish in an intermittent river

Towering White Poplar near the village of Vrondama along an intermittent section of the Evrotas

New Paper: Fish in an intermittent river

Our fish team at IMBRIW - HCMR has been studying the Evrotas river for a long time. Alkis Economou and others, including Roberta Barbieri, did lots of investigative work there in the '90s. Kottelat and Barbieri described a new fish there (the Evrotas Minnow, Pelasgus laconicus in 2004). And the river has become a kind of Long Term Research Area especially after '05 with the a series of projects promoted primarily by Nikos Skoulikidis. Our aspiring PhD student, Leonidas Vardakas who hails from Sparta, has done his best to work on the river's fish assemblages, the drought effects and other applied ichthyological issues. I wish him a good ending to the PhD in 2016!   

 Our recent paper, analyzes patterns in spatial and temporal distribution of fish communities in the Evrotas. The river hosts three endemic range-restricted species of high conservation interest. The distribution patterns of fish assemblages, which also include marine transients and migratory fishes such as the Eel has been poorly studied in eastern Medterranean streams. These analyses are important for river type classifications (biotic typologies, WFD assessment applications) and they support conservation planning and actions. 

For further information please read: 

Vardakas et al. 2015

To find out why the Evrotas River is called an "artificially intermittent" river please read:

Skoulikidis et al. 2011

All photos below are from early expeditions to the river; the fish photos are all take at the bridge of Skala in the Evrotas Delta in 2006. 

The springs just upstream of the bridge of Sparti. Most of the fishes are Spartian Minnowroach. 

View of the Evrotas in late summer from the bridge of Skala.

The Vrodamas Gorge. Our research this year in the Natura Fish Project helped promote the proposal for the extension of the Natura 2000 site of the Evrotas Delta to include this remarkable small canyon.

Emblematic species: Evrotas Chub. Yes, totally exclusivelly locally endemic!

Grey mullet species such as this Chelon sp. are very common in the lower part of the river. 

One of my personal favorites, the River Blenny.

The Spartian Minnowroach was known in Greek by the peculiar name "Bafa" a true and crazy misnomer which we changed to Χρυσή Μενίδα (Golden Minnow). Its a beautiful fish. 

Spartian Minnowroach (above) and Evrotas Chub (below) for comparison.

Map of the Evrotas river basin in Southern Greece showing fish sampling sites along the river's longitudinal axis (published in Vardakas et al. 2015)

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