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Within-basin fish assemblage structure: the relative influence of habitat versus stream spatial position on local species richness

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Local species richness (LSR) in stream fish assemblages is related to both local habitat conditions and stream spatial position. In this study, we examined the within-basin distribution of LSR in the Upper Saône River (France). We describe the longitudinal patterns in LSR and assess the relative effects of both local habitat and spatial (upstream and downstream) influences on species richness. We showed that among the different local habitat variables, only stream width and gradient significantly influenced LSR. Spatial factors also influenced the within-basin distribution of LSR and resulted in spatial autocorrelation, highlighting contagious biotic processes in structuring stream fish assemblages. However, we did not confirm other published predictions that headwater streams entering large rivers directly should have greater species richness. The spatial autocorrelation was only significant downstream (from 4th- to 7th-order streams), suggesting that the relative importance of local habitat and biotic processes may depend on the position along the longitudinal gradient.

Dans les systèmes lotiques, la richesse spécifique locale (LSR) des assemblages piscicoles dépend à la fois de conditions locales d'habitat et du positionnement spatial du cours d'eau. Dans cette étude, nous avons étudié la distribution de LSR dans le bassin de la Haute-Saône (France). Nous avons abordé les effets relatifs de facteurs locaux d'habitat et de facteurs spatiaux (amont et aval) sur la richesse spécifique. Parmi les variables locales d'habitat, seules la largeur et la pente du cours d'eau influencent significativement LSR. Des facteurs spatiaux interviennent également dans la distribution de LSR et induisent une autocorrélation spatiale, révélant ainsi des processus biotiques contagieux qui structurent les communautés piscicoles. Cependant, nous n'avons pas pu vérifier les prédictions selon lesquelles des cours d'eaux de tête de bassin se jettant directement dans de grands cours d'eaux devraient avoir des richesses spécifiques plus élevées. L'autocorrélation spatiale ne concernait que les cours d'eau aval (ordre 4 à 7), suggérant ainsi que l'importance relative de l'habitat local et des processus biotiques pourrait dépendre de la position le long du gradient longitudinal.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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