Ichthyofauna in the upper Rhine River close to the city of Karlsruhe as determined by the analysis of fish impingement by cooling-water intakes of a power plant.
The fish fauna in the northern part of the upper river Rhine close to the city of Karlsruhe (Germany) was analyzed by collecting fish from the cooling-water intake of a power plant (impingement method) between 1989 and 2001. With this method a total of 36 fish species were recorded. The results were compared between the years as well as with other studies on the fish fauna in this area. Particularly with regard to the physical structure of the river bed and banks, the pre-technical situation of the river Rhine has not been restored. However, the number of fish species has been augmented since the 1970s mainly due to improvements in the water quality and almost all autochthonous fish species are present again. Altogether only three introduced fish species (Sander lucioperca L., Lepomis gibbosus L., and Carassius auratus gibelio were found in this study. Among the long-distance migrating species three freshwater spawners (Lampetra fluviatilis, Petromyzon marinus and Salmo trutta trutta) were detected in addition to the catadromous eel. The eudominant fish species varied between years, i.e. the European eel, Anguilla anguilla, was the eudominant species 1989, whereas this species occurred in much lower numbers during the subsequent sampling campaigns. This clearly indicates that the high dominance of eels is mainly caused by stocking activities in the upper Rhine. In the following years roach, Rutilus rutilus was the eudominant fish species. Overall a positive development of the fish fauna in the upper Rhine over the last 15 years could be observed in terms of fish populations as well as in terms of species richness.
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