Species detection error (i.e., imperfect and variable detection probability) is an essential consideration when investigators map distributions and interpret habitat associations. When fish detection error that is due to highly variable instream environments needs to be addressed, sand‐bed streams of the Great Plains represent a unique challenge. We quantified seining detection probability for diminutive Great Plains fishes across a range of sampling conditions in two sand‐bed rivers in Oklahoma. Imperfect detection resulted in underestimates of species occurrence using naïve estimates, particularly for less common fishes. Seining detection probability also varied among fishes and across sampling conditions. We observed a quadratic relationship between water depth and detection probability, in which the exact nature of the relationship was species‐specific and dependent on water clarity. Similarly, the direction of the relationship between water clarity and detection probability was species‐specific and dependent on differences in water depth. The relationship between water temperature and detection probability was also species dependent, where both the magnitude and direction of the relationship varied among fishes. We showed how ignoring detection error confounded an underlying relationship between species occurrence and water depth. Despite imperfect and heterogeneous detection, our results support that determining species absence can be accomplished with two to six spatially replicated seine hauls per 200‐m reach under average sampling conditions; however, required effort would be higher under certain conditions. Detection probability was low for the Arkansas River Shiner Notropis girardi, which is federally listed as threatened, and more than 10 seine hauls per 200‐m reach would be required to assess presence across sampling conditions. Our model allows scientists to estimate sampling effort to confidently assess species occurrence, which maximizes the use of available resources. Increased implementation of approaches that consider detection error promote ecological advancements and conservation and management decisions that are better informed.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Quantifying seining detection probability for fishes of Great Plains sand‐bed rivers|
|Series title||Transactions of the American Fisheries Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Atlanta|
|Other Geospatial||Canadian River, Cimarron River|