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Niche Partitioning Of Fish Assemblages In A Mountain Stream With Frequent Natural Disturbances – An Examination Of Microhabitat In Riffle Areas

Home Forums Ichthyology Niche Partitioning Of Fish Assemblages In A Mountain Stream With Frequent Natural Disturbances – An Examination Of Microhabitat In Riffle Areas

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    Matt
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    Abstract

    Microhabitat usage by different species of fish was studied to examine the potential for niche partitioning in riffle areas of a mountain river characterised by frequent natural disturbances. We randomly sampled 96 riffle-area plots (mostly 1 m × 1 m) in a stream in south-western Taiwan for fish abundance and microhabitat characteristics during the dry season from November 2008 to March 2009. Density and electivity values associated with microhabitat usage indicate the presence of niche partitioning among four major species of fish based largely on flow velocity and water depth. Hemimyzon formosanum, a herbivore, prefers higher velocity and shallower water but avoids sandy substrate. Onychostoma alticorpus, a herbivore, prefers lower velocity and deeper water. Rhinogobius nantaiensis, an omnivore, prefers higher velocity, shallower water and gravel-sized substrate but avoids boulder substrate. Acrossocheilus paradoxus, an omnivore, prefers lower velocity and deeper water but avoids pebble-sized substrate. The existence of differentiation of microhabitat preference and overlap of microhabitat usage suggests that interspecific competition is a factor affecting the structure of this fish assemblage, which may remain at early successional stages because of frequent disturbances in the stream. Study results also show that density and electivity detect preference differently. Density detects microhabitat preference for two herbivores while electivity detects microhabitat preference for two omnivores.

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