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Title: Multi-scale effects of resource patchiness on foraging behaviour and habitat use by longnose dace, Rhinichthys cataractae

Author: Thompson, Andrew R.; Petty, J. Todd; Grossman, Gary D.;

Date: 2001

Source: Freshwater Biology (2001) 46, 145-160

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: 1. We examined the response of a predatory benthic fish, the longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), to patchiness in the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates on cobbles at three hierarchical spatial scales during summer and autumn 1996, and spring 1997 in a southern Appalachian stream. 2. At the primary scale (four to five individual cobbles separated by <1 m), the intensity of foraging was not correlated with the biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates/cobble, regardless of season. 3. At the secondary scale (i.e. foraging patches <5 m in diameter) we found that benthic macroinvertebrates were patchily distributed in summer, but not in autumn or spring. Concomitantly, in summer, longnose dace foraged on cobbles with a significantly higher biomass of benthic macronvertebrates than nearby, randomly selected cobbles with similar physical conditions (i.e. longnose dace tended to avoid low-prey foraging patches). In contrast, when benthic macroinvertebrates were distributed homogeneously (spring and autumn), dace did not select patches with a significantly higher biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates than that available on randomly selected cobbles. 4. At the tertiary scale (i.e. stream reaches 11-19 m long), the biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates (per cobble per reach) was patchily distributed (i.e. differed significantly among reaches) in all seasons. Among reaches with physical characteristics preferred by longnose dace, (i.e. erosional reaches dominated by cobble boulder substratum and high current velocity), we detected a sigruficant, positive correlation between the biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates/cobble and longnose dace density in all seasons.

Keywords: foraging patch, habitat selection, predator-prey, spatial heterogeneic, stream fish

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Thompson, Andrew R.; Petty, J. Todd; Grossman, Gary D. 2001. Multi-scale effects of resource patchiness on foraging behaviour and habitat use by longnose dace, Rhinichthys cataractae. Freshwater Biology (2001) 46, 145-160


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