A multi-scaled approach to evaluating the fish assemblage structure within southern Appalachian streams USA.

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
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Abstract

There is considerable uncertainty about the relative roles of stream habitat and landscape characteristics in structuring stream-fish assemblages. We evaluated the relative importance of environmental characteristics on fish occupancy at the local and landscape scales within the upper Little Tennessee River basin of Georgia and North Carolina. Fishes were sampled using a quadrat sample design at 525 channel units within 48 study reaches during two consecutive years. We evaluated species–habitat relationships (local and landscape factors) by developing hierarchical, multispecies occupancy models. Modeling results suggested that fish occupancy within the Little Tennessee River basin was primarily influenced by stream topology and topography, urban land coverage, and channel unit types. Landscape scale factors (e.g., urban land coverage and elevation) largely controlled the fish assemblage structure at a stream-reach level, and local-scale factors (i.e., channel unit types) influenced fish distribution within stream reaches. Our study demonstrates the utility of a multi-scaled approach and the need to account for hierarchy and the interscale interactions of factors influencing assemblage structure prior to monitoring fish assemblages, developing biological management plans, or allocating management resources throughout a stream system.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A multi-scaled approach to evaluating the fish assemblage structure within southern Appalachian streams USA.
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2014.935478
Volume 143
Issue 5
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 14 p.
First page 1358
Last page 1371
Country United States
State Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee
Other Geospatial Little Tennessee River Basin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N