Fish and habitat were sampled from 110 reaches in the Salt River basin (Idaho and Wyoming) during 1996 and 1997 to assess patterns in fish assemblage structure across a Rocky Mountain watershed. We identified four distinct fish assemblages using cluster analysis: (1) allopatric cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki (Richardson, 1836)); (2) cutthroat trout - brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchell, 1814)) - Paiute sculpin (Cottus beldingi Eigenmann and Eigenmann, 1891); (3) cutthroat trout - brown trout (Salmo trutta L., 1758) - mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi Girard, 1850); and (4) Cyprinidae-Catostomidae. The distribution of fish assemblages was explained by thermal characteristics, stream geomorphology, and local habitat features. Reaches with allopatric cutthroat trout and the cutthroat trout - brook trout - Paiute sculpin assemblage were located in high-elevation, high-gradient streams. The other two fish assemblages were generally located in low-elevation streams. Associations between habitat gradients, locations of reaches in the watershed, and occurrence of species were further examined using canonical correspondence analysis. The results suggest that stream geomorphology, thermal conditions, and local habitat characteristics influence fish assemblage structure across a Rocky Mountain watershed, and they provide information on the ecology of individual species that can guide conservation activities. ?? 2004 NRC Canada.
Additional publication details
Fish assemblage structure and relations with environmental conditions in a Rocky Mountain watershed