Environmental gradients occur with upstream progression from plains to mountains and affect the occurrence of native warmwater fish species, but the relative importance of various environmental gradients are not defined. We assessed the relative influences of elevation, channel slope, and stream width on the occurrences of 15 native warmwater fish species among 152 reaches scattered across the North Platte River drainage of Wyoming at the interface of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Most species were collected in reaches that were lower in elevation, had lower channel slopes, and were wider than the medians of the 152 sampled reaches. Several species occurred over a relatively narrow range of elevation, channel slope, or stream width among the sampled reaches, but the distributions of some species appeared to extend beyond the ranges of the sampled reaches. We identified competing logistic-regression models that accounted for the occurrence of individual species using the information-theoretic approach. Linear logistic-regression models accounted for patterns in the data better than curvilinear models for all species. The highest ranked models included channel slope for seven species, elevation for six species, stream width for one species, and both channel slope and stream width for one species. Our results suggest that different environmental gradients may affect upstream boundaries of different fish species at the interface of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.
Additional publication details
Relationships of elevation, channel slope, and stream width to occurrences of native fishes at the Great Plains-Rocky Mountains interface