La Trobe
894029_Humphries,P_2020.pdf (2.05 MB)

Riverscape recruitment: A conceptual synthesis of drivers of fish recruitment in rivers

Download (2.05 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-16, 05:48 authored by P Humphries, Alison KingAlison King, Nicole McCasker, RK Kopf, Rick Stoffels, B Zampatti, Amina Price
Most fish recruitment models consider only one or a few drivers in isolation, rarely include species’ traits, and have limited relevance to riverine environments. Despite their diversity, riverine fishes share sufficient characteristics that prediction of recruitment should be possible. Here we synthesize the essential components of fish recruitment hypotheses and the key features of rivers to develop a model that predicts relative recruitment strength, for all fishes, in rivers under all flow conditions. The model proposes that interactions between flow and physical complexity will create locations in rivers, at mesoscales, where energy and nutrients are enriched. The resultant production of small prey will be concentrated and prey and fish larvae located (through dispersal or retention) so that the larvae can feed, grow, and recruit. Our synthesis explains how flow and physical complexity affect fish recruitment and provides a conceptual basis to better conserve and manage riverine fishes globally.


This review was funded by the Australian Department of Environment and Energy's Commonwealth Environmental Water Office through the Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research project, administered by the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, La Trobe University. Additional support for the preparation of this manuscript came from Charles Sturt University, CSIRO, Charles Darwin University, La Trobe University, and SARDI. The review benefited from discussions with Stephen Balcombe, John Koehn, and Lee Baumgartner.


Publication Date



Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences






13p. (p. 213-225)


NRC Research Press



Rights Statement

Copyright remains with the author(s) or their institution(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.