Evaluation of Three Types of Artificial Habitats for Fishes in a Freshwater Pond in Maine, USA
Three types of artificial structures (brush bundles, cinder blocks, tire bundles) were studied along transects in Lac D'or, a boreal, freshwater pond in central Maine. Observations were made of 1,397 adult and juvenile fishes by means of 18 dives during the day and 6 dives during the night in 1990. Cover attracted the five species of fishes in the pond (pumpkinseed, Lepomis gibbosus; chain pickerel, Esox niger; brown bullhead, Ameiurus nebulosus; common shiner, Luxilus cornutus; and golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas). Numbers of fishes were significantly higher in areas with artificial cover (70% of fishes, average counts per transect), or in areas with natural weed beds (29%) than in areas without cover <1%). Pumpkinseeds were distributed about equally in areas with tire bundles (38%), cinder blocks (34%), and brush bundles (28%), whereas golden and common shiners were attracted primarily to brush bundles (62%). Numbers of fishes associated with artificial habitat were significantly higher at night. Common and golden shiners occupied locations on the periphery of structures, whereas pumpkinseeds frequently inhabited recesses of cinder blocks and brush bundles. Associations with artificial habitat decreased rapidly in October when water temperature declined to below 12°C. By early November, as water temperatures decreased to 7°C, fishes moved to the bottom, away from cover, and markedly reduced their movements. Artificial habitats were re-examined in June 1991 following winter ice cover. All structures remained intact, except several branches from submerged brush bundles had been removed by animals, probably beaver Castor canadensis (Castoridae). Although artificial habitat may only serve to redistribute fishes in a lake or pond, such structures are recommended as a long-term option for freshwaters where cover limits carrying capacity of fishes.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-09-01
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