Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 233–245 | Cite as

Complex size-dependent habitat associations in potamodromous fish species

  • José Maria Santos
  • Luís Reino
  • Miguel Porto
  • João Oliveira
  • Paulo Pinheiro
  • Pedro Raposo Almeida
  • Rui Cortes
  • Maria Teresa Ferreira
Research Article


Knowledge of the distribution of species life stages at multiple spatial scales is fundamental to both a proper assessment of species management and conservation programmes and the ability to predict the consequences of human disturbances for river systems. The habitat requirements of three native cyprinid species—the Iberian barbel Barbus bocagei Steindachner, the Iberian straight-mouth nase Pseudochondrostoma polylepis (Steindachner), and the Northern straight-mouth nase Pseudochondrostoma duriense (Coelho)—were examined at 174 undisturbed or minimally disturbed sites in 8 river catchments across western Iberia, by modelling occurrence and counts of species life stages at two spatial scales—large (regional) and instream (local)—using hurdle models. All the life stages of the barbel showed a negative association with upstream high-gradient river reaches, whereas juvenile P. duriense favoured such areas. Stream width and openness were negatively related with the occurrence of juvenile and small adult barbel, but not with large adults. Juvenile nase, on the other hand, were found to be mainly confined to fast-flowing habitats with high instream cover and coarser substrata. Advanced life stages of the barbel were mainly associated with the “pure” regional and shared components, whereas the purely local attributes accounted for much of the model variation among nases, in particular juveniles, and juvenile barbel. The results of this study are useful for setting or refining management goals, and highlight the need to separately consider life stages when performing conservation-related studies of species distribution.


Life stage Regional/local environment PCA Hurdle models Variation partitioning Cyprinids 



The authors would like to thank Luis Lopes, António Albuquerque and Rui Rivaes for help with the field work. We are also grateful to Achim Zeileis from WU Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien for his help with the hurdle models under the PSCL package. Finally, the authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers would greatly improved an early draft of this paper. José Maria Santos was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (SFRH/BPD/26417/2006); Luis Reino was funded by the FCT grants SFRH/BD/14085/2003 and SFRH/BPD/62865/2009, and Miguel Porto was funded by the FCT PhD grant SFRH/BD/28974/2006.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Maria Santos
    • 1
  • Luís Reino
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Miguel Porto
    • 5
  • João Oliveira
    • 6
  • Paulo Pinheiro
    • 1
    • 7
  • Pedro Raposo Almeida
    • 8
    • 9
  • Rui Cortes
    • 6
  • Maria Teresa Ferreira
    • 1
  1. 1.CEF, Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosUniversidade do PortoVairãoPortugal
  3. 3.ERENA-Ordenamento e Gestão de Recursos NaturaisLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Cátedra “Rui Nabeiro”-Biodiversidade, CIBIOUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  5. 5.Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, CBA, Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências de LisboaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  6. 6.CITAB, Centro de Investigação e de Tecnologias Agro-Ambientais e BiológicasUniversidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  7. 7.AQUALOGUS-Engenharia e Ambiente, Rua da Tóbis PortuguesaLisbonPortugal
  8. 8.Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  9. 9.Instituto de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências de LisboaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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