Estimating number of species and relative abundances in stream-fish communities: effects of sampling effort and discontinuous spatial distributions

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
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Abstract

We sampled fishes and measured microhabitat in series of contiguous habitat units (riffles, runs, pools) in three Virginia streams. We used Monte Carlo simulations to construct hypothetical series of habitat units, then examined how number of species, similarity in relative abundances, and number of microhabitats accumulated with increasing number of habitat units (i.e., sampling effort). Proportions of all species and microhabitats represented were relatively low and variable at low sampling effort, but increased asymptotically and became less variable with greater sampling effort. To facilitate comparisons among streams, we fitted simulation results to negative exponential curves. The curves indicated that 90% of the species present were usually found by sampling 5 to 14 habitat units (stream length of 22–67 stream widths). Estimates of species relative abundances required less sampling effort for a given accuracy than estimates of number of species. Rates of species accumulation (with effort) varied among streams and reflected discontinuity in species distributions among habitat units. Most discontinuity seemed to be due to low population density rather than to habitat selectivity. Results from an Illinois stream corroborated our findings from Virginia, and suggested that greater sampling effort is needed to characterize fish community structure in more homogeneous stream reaches.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Estimating number of species and relative abundances in stream-fish communities: effects of sampling effort and discontinuous spatial distributions
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1139/f95-093
Volume 52
Issue 5
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher N R C Research Press
Publisher location Ottawa, Canada
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 14 p.
First page 936
Last page 949
Time Range Start 1988-09-01
Time Range End 1989-08-31
Country United States
State Virginia
Other Geospatial Beaver Creek, Bernards Creek, Copper Creek
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N