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Linking Traits of At-Risk Fish Species with Types of Human Impact

Published Nov 2, 2010

A Test of Concept

Associations between fish species traits and imperilment have been documented in various regional studies.  Evidence is accumulating that species possessing certain traits (e.g., benthicity) are disproportionately represented among imperiled species. It is also acknowledged that traits tend to occur as syndromes (i.e., groups of correlated traits) in species that possess them. The major threats to species can also be sorted into typologies (e.g., pulse, press, and ramp types in perturbation theory). Identifying common trait syndromes or individual traits in native fishes and associating them with imperilment by impact types would be valuable to conservation by providing a framework for predicting and preventing the effects of novel threats on native species. In the pilot phase, this project supported by the USGS National Aquatic GAP will test the utility of frameworks for linking traits to impacts types using imperiled species of the southeastern United States. The goal is to ultimately apply the framework at the continental scale.


Emmanuel Frimpong, Virginia Tech