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Title: Long-term Patterns of Microhabitat Use by Fish in a Southern Appalachian Stream from 1983 to 1992: Effects of Hydrologic Period, Season and Fish Length

Author: Grossman, Gary D.; Ratajczak, Robert E. Jr.;

Date: 1998

Source: Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 1998: 7: 108-131

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: We quantified microhabitat use by members of a southern Appalachian stream fish assemblage over a ten-year period that included both floods and droughts. Our study site (37 m in length) encompassed riffle, run and pool habitats. Previous research indicated that species belonged to either benthic or water-column microhabitat guilds. Most species exhibited non-random microhabitat use in all seasons, and benthic and water column species generally were over-represented in the deeper portions of the site. In addition, water column species generally were overrepresented in microhabitats with lower average velocities. The majority of seasonal shifts in microhabitat use were passive (i.e. correlated with changes in microhabitat availability), whereas, most shifts associated with hydrological periods appeared to be active responses to changing environmental conditions. Most species exhibited length-related shifts in microhabitat use, which were strongly affected by hydrologic period for four of ten species. Microhabitat use patterns of assemblage members appeared to be a consequence of species-specific responses to changing environmental conditions. The highly flexible patterns of microhabitat use exhibited by these species necessitate that decisions regarding their management be based on data covering a range of environmental conditions.

Keywords: assemblage structure, spatial resource use, hydrologic variability, drought, stream fishes, coexistence

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Grossman, Gary D.; Ratajczak, Robert E., Jr. 1998. Long-term Patterns of Microhabitat Use by Fish in a Southern Appalachian Stream from 1983 to 1992: Effects of Hydrologic Period, Season and Fish Length. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 1998: 7: 108-131

 


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