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Effects of riffle length on the short-term movement of fishes among stream pools.Author(s): David George Lonzarich; Mary Ruth Elger Lonzrich; Melvin L. Warren
Source: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 57: 1508-1514.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionRecent research has suggested that the within-habitat dynamics of fish populations and assemblages can be affected by the spatial distribution of habitats within streams. In this study, we determined the extent to which pool isolation (length of riffles connecting adjacent pools) influenced fish movement in two Arkansas streams. We marked individuals from 12 pools assigned to two treatment categories: pools separated by long riffles (>50 m) and those separated by short riffles (<10 m). Repeatedly snorkeling pools for 3 days in 1995 and 1997, we discovered substantial emigration (>20 percent) and significant effects of riffle length. Total emigration from short-riffle pools was three times higher (29 percent) than movement from long-riffle pools (10 percent). Further, marked fish in short-riffle pools moved upstream and downstream with equal frequency, whereas fish in long-riffle pools moved twice as often downstream. Collectively, these results indicate significant effects of habitat spacing on short-term movement patterns by fish. In streams, where fish are distributed within a mosaic of habitats of varying quality, such movements may allow individuals to assess spatial variability in resource conditions (e.g., food, predators). Because land-use activities can alter habitat spacing, these findings have important implications for fish conservation in degraded streams.
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CitationLonzarich, David George; Lonzrich, Mary Ruth Elger; Warren, Melvin L., Jr. 2000. Effects of riffle length on the short-term movement of fishes among stream pools. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 57: 1508-1514.
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