Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (810.0 KB bytes)

Title: Habitat connectivity as a metric for aquatic microhabitat quality: Application to Chinook salmon spawning habitat

Author: Carnie, Ryan; Tonina, Daniele; McKean, Jim; Isaak, Daniel;

Date: 2016

Source: Ecohydrology. 9: 982-994.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Quality of fish habitat at the scale of a single fish, at the metre resolution, which we defined here as microhabitat, has been primarily evaluated on short reaches, and their results have been extended through long river segments with methods that do not account for connectivity, a measure of the spatial distribution of habitat patches. However, recent investigations of quality of aquatic habitat at the stream segment scale, at hundredth of metre resolution macrohabitat, indicate that the spatial distribution of aquatic habitat quality and size is an important factor at the network scale. Here, we hypothesize that aquatic habitat connectivity, quality and patch size are also important at the microhabitat scale. We test this hypothesis by modelling Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) spawning habitat in a 6-km long reach of Bear Valley Creek (Idaho, USA) with microhabitat resolution of 1-m square. We use two-dimensional hydraulic numerical modelling coupled with suitability curves to predict the spatial distribution of spawning habitat quality. We quantify connectivity for each habitat patch with the ratio between the area of neighbouring patches and their squared hydrographic distances. Results from a logistic regression analysis comparing predicted with observed spawning locations indicate that habitat quality and patch size are important factors and connectivity among patches may have a secondary effect. Therefore, spatial distribution of aquatic habitat and size of habitat patches are important aspects of its quality, suggesting that composite metrics such as weighted usable area may not be sufficient in defining the condition of the river environment.

Keywords: aquatic habitat quality, habitat patch connectivity, Chinook salmon, numerical simulations, spawning habitat

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Carnie, Ryan; Tonina, Daniele; McKean, James A.; Isaak, Daniel. 2016. Habitat connectivity as a metric for aquatic microhabitat quality: Application to Chinook salmon spawning habitat. Ecohydrology. 9: 982-994.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.