Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 169–184

Habitat-specific estimates of competition in stream salmonids: A field test of the isodar model of habitat selection

  • Marco A. Rodríguez

DOI: 10.1007/BF01237755

Cite this article as:
Rodríguez, M.A. Evol Ecol (1995) 9: 169. doi:10.1007/BF01237755


The population densities of sympatric Atlantic salmon,Salmo salar and brook charr,Salvelinus fontinalis, were measured in riffle and pool stream habitats to test whether non-linear isodars, a multispecific model of habitat selection based on ideal distribution assumptions, could (1) predict the distribution of densities between habitats and (2) reproduce the processes postulated to underlie spatial segregation and species interactions in previous laboratory and field studies. The model provided a good fit to observed density patterns and indicated that habitat suitability declined non-linearly with increased heterospecific competitor densities. Competitive effects in riffles appeared to be due to exploitative resource use, with salmon always emerging as the superior competitor. No evidence was found for interference competition in riffles. In contrast, interspecific competition in pools seemed to occur through exploitation and interference. The specific identity of the superior competitor in pools depended on the density of both species; pools provided the charr with refuge from competition with the salmon, presumably through the adoption by the charr of density-dependent behaviours, such as schooling and group foraging, that mitigated the negative impact of the salmon. Charr were displaced from the riffles toward the pools as the total salmon density increased. The isodar analysis, based on limited density data, successfully reproduced the processes suggested to underlie spatial segregation in previous field and laboratory studies and provided new insights into how changes in competitor densities modify habitat suitability in this system.


habitat selectioncompetitiondensity dependencefish communitiesSalmo salarSalvelinus fontinalis

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco A. Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de biologie et des sciences de la santéUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada