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Winter distribution and habitat use by fish in a regulated lowland river system of south-east England

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The macrohabitat preferences of 1+ fish (10 cm FL) and the microhabitat use of 0+ juvenile fishes in the River Lee catchment (UK) were examined from data collected over a 3-year period between late autumn and early spring using depletion sampling and point abundance sampling, respectively. Canonical correspondence analysis and habitat profiles revealed preferences in the more rheophilous fish species (e.g. brown trout, Salmo trutta L., barbel, Barbus barbus (L.)) for features characteristic of upstream natural channels and meander sections of the by-passed old river, with the more ubiquitous (e.g. perch, Perca fluviatilis L.) and limnophilous fishes [e.g. pike, Esox lucius L., tench, Tinca tinca (L.)] preferring habitats mainly in downstream channelised stretches. The microhabitat of 0+ juvenile fishes in the River Lee was similar to that reported elsewhere for the same species, influenced mainly by channel width, depth, and distance from the bank, though microhabitat overlap in 0+ roach, Rutilus rutilus (L.), and gudgeon, Gobio gobio (L.), was greater in the Lee than observed in larger, more open river systems.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Environment Agency, Fisheries & Conservation Section, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, UK , 2: University of Hertfordshire, Department of Environmental Sciences, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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