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Branching complexity and morphological characteristics of coarse woody structure as lacustrine fish habitat

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The objective of this study was to quantify the physical characteristics of coarse woody structure (CWS) as fish habitat in a north temperate lake. Sixteen species of fish were observed in submerged CWS habitat. Branching complexity, distance above the bole, area below the bole, distance to other CWS, and water depth around CWS were significantly related to abundance of schooling cyprinids (Cyprinidae), rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and walleye (Sander vitreus). Branching complexity was the most common characteristic of CWS related to richness, diversity, and total adult abundance of fish taxa, but was not correlated with the total lengths of fish found in submerged trees. Branching-complexity values ranged from 1 (simple) to 500 (moderately complex) in the littoral zone; for comparison, a living riparian conifer had a branching-complexity value of over 1000. Most CWS in the littoral zone was composed of simple trees without branching, but fish tended to inhabit CWS with branching-complexity values greater than 45. This study shows the importance of CWS with fine branching as littoral-zone fish habitat.

L'objectif de notre travail est de décrire quantitativement les caractéristiques physiques des structures ligneuses grossières (CWS) qui servent d'habitat aux poissons dans un lac tempéré nordique. Seize espèces de poissons s'observent dans l'habitat CWS. La complexité des branchements, la distance au-dessus du tronc, la surface sous le tronc, la distance des autres CWS et la profondeur de l'eau autour du CWS sont toutes reliées à l'abondance des bancs de cyprinidés (Cyprinidae), de crapets de roche (Ambloplites rupestris), d'achigans à petite bouche (Micropterus dolomieu), de crapets arlequins (Lepomis macrochirus), de perchaudes (Perca flavescens) et de dorés jaunes (Sander vitreus). La complexité des branchements est la caractéristique des CWS qui est le plus souvent associée à la richesse en taxons des poissons, à leur diversité et à l'abondance totale des adultes, mais elle n'est pas reliée aux longueurs totales des poissons trouvés parmi les arbres submergés. Les valeurs de complexité des branchements varient de simple (1) à modérément complexe (500) dans la zone littorale; pour fins de comparaison, un conifère vivant sur la berge possède une valeur de complexité des branchements de plus de 1000. La plupart des CWS dans la zone littorale consistent en arbres simples sans branches, alors que les poissons tendent à s'abriter dans des CWS avec des valeurs de complexité des branchements supérieures à 45. Notre étude démontre l'importance des CWS avec un branchement élaboré comme un habitat pour les poissons dans la zone littorale.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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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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