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The relative importance of local, lateral, and longitudinal variables on the development of habitat quality models for a river

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Fish habitat quality models (FHQM) developed for rivers consist of relationships between indices of habitat quality and environmental conditions prevailing within sites (local variables). Given the hierarchical structure of these ecosystems, modeling habitat quality over complete rivers may require the inclusion of variables in FHQM that represent the processes operating over a more complete range of spatial scales. The objectives of this study were to quantify the relative importance of local, lateral (characteristics of the shores), and longitudinal (attributes along the upstream–downstream axis of the river) variables on a FHQM developed for parr of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Parr densities (an index of habitat quality) and local, lateral, and longitudinal variables were estimated in 32 reaches of 200 m. FHQM were developed using analytical units (AU) of 50, 100, and 200 m (length of AU in the upstream–downstream axis of the river). The structure and the explanatory power of FHQM were affected by the AU size. In the study river, 98% of the explanatory power of FHQM was imputed to the effect of local variables.

Les modèles de la qualité des habitats de poissons (MQHP) développés en rivières sont des relations entre des indices de la qualité des habitats et des conditions environnementales qui prévalent à l’intérieur de sites (variables locales). Compte tenu de la structure hiérarchique de ces écosystèmes, la modélisation de la qualité des habitats pour des rivières entières peut demander l’inclusion dans les MQHP de variables qui représentent les processus qui opèrent sur une plus grande gamme d’échelles spatiales. L’objectif de cette étude est de quantifier l’importance relative des variables locales, latérales (caractéristiques des berges) et longitudinales (attributs sur l’axe amont–aval d’une rivière) sur un MQHP développé pour des tacons du saumon atlantique (Salmo salar). La densité de tacons (un indice de la qualité des habitats) et les variables locales, latérales et longitudinales ont été estimées dans 32 segments de 200 m. Les MQHP ont été développés avec des unités d’analyse (UA) de 50, 100 et 200 m (longueur dans l’axe amont–aval de la rivière). La structure et la puissance explicative des MQHP sont affectées par la taille des UA. Dans la rivière étudiée, 98 % de la puissance explicative des MQHP est imputée à l’effet des variables locales.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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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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