Spatial-temporal analysis on distribution and abundance of Missouri River fish from 2001-2021 seining data
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and Northwestern Energy have conducted seining fisheries surveys on the Missouri River from 2001 to 2021, to determine the abundance and distribution of fishes that reside between five sampling transects along the river. These locations include Morony Dam, Fort Benton, Coal Banks, Judith Landing, and Fred Robinson Bridge. There haven’t been significant efforts to examine and interpret the large dataset. My project aims to establish a spatial and temporal analysis of relationships between the diversity and abundance of species, and environmental factors such as water temperature, discharge, and Secchi depth readings. The intent of the project is to provide an analysis that demonstrates an association between biological and environmental variables. The project is not a controlled experiment, so the results displayed do not indicate causation. Through this study, I found that species’ relative abundance and diversity fluctuate between years, but not significantly between the five study reaches. The results of the study also demonstrated associations between discharge rates and biological relationships which influenced relative abundance among fish species. I hope to provide ideas for future management of non-game and prairie fish and establish a baseline analysis of the long-term dataset, especially for species that are listed as species of concern.