Evaluating habitat associations of a fish assemblage at multiple spatial scales in a minimally disturbed stream using low-cost remote sensing
- Habitat heterogeneity at multiple scales is a major factor affecting fish assemblage structure. However, assessments that examine these relationships at multiple scales concurrently are lacking. The lack of assessments at these scales is a critical gap in understanding as conservation and restoration efforts typically work at these levels.
- A combination of low-cost side-scan sonar surveys, aerial imagery using an unmanned aerial vehicle, and fish collections were used to evaluate the relationship between physicochemical and landscape variables at various spatial scales (e.g. micro-mesohabitat, mesohabitat, channel unit, stream reach) and stream–fish assemblage structure and habitat associations in the South Llano River, a spring-fed second-order stream on the Edwards Plateau in central Texas during 2012–2013.
- Low-cost side-scan sonar surveys have not typically been used to generate data for riverscape assessments of assemblage structure, thus the secondary objective was to assess the efficacy of this approach.
- The finest spatial scale (micro-mesohabitat) and the intermediate scale (channel unit) had the greatest explanatory power for variation in fish assemblage structure.
- Many of the fish endemic to the Edwards Plateau showed similar associations with physicochemical and landscape variables suggesting that conservation and restoration actions targeting a single endemic species may provide benefits to a large proportion of the endemic species in this system.
- Low-cost side-scan sonar proved to be a cost-effective means of acquiring information on the habitat availability of the entire river length and allowed the assessment of how a full suite of riverscape-level variables influenced local fish assemblage structure.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Evaluating habitat associations of a fish assemblage at multiple spatial scales in a minimally disturbed stream using low-cost remote sensing|
|Series title||Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Atlanta|