Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 403–417 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variation of fish assemblages and their associations to habitat variables in a mountain stream of north Tiaoxi River, China

  • Jianhua Li
  • Liangliang Huang
  • Limin Zou
  • Yuichi Kano
  • Tatsuro Sato
  • Tetsukazu Yahara


The spatial and temporal variations of the fish assemblages in mountain streams of China are poorly understood. The relationships between the fish assemblage and selected habitat features were examined in the North Tiaoxi River, one of headwaters of Taihu Lake. A total of 3,348 individuals belonging to 5 orders, 11 families, 25 genera and 34 species were collected including 33 native species and one invasive species. Among those, about 20 species were endemic to China. Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) was applied to compare fish assemblage structures from upstream to downstream during four seasons. Species assemblages differed along the stream continuum, but there was little apparent change associated with the seasons. Species richness and Shannon-Weaver index (H′) tended to increase along the stream continuum from the upstream to downstream and the proportion of invertivorous fish tended to significantly decrease along the continuum with a parallel significant increase in the percentage of omnivores. Fish assemblages were significantly related to both water quality and habitat structure variables. Canonical Correspondence Analysis ordinations (CCA) revealed that 6 of the 14 selected environmental variables had significant relationships with the fish assemblage such as distance to source, stream width, altitude, pH, water depth, and water velocity and different sampling sites were associated with different environmental variables in different seasons. The main differences in fish assemblage structure and diversity within the whole watercourse are probably related to large-scale factors such distance to source, altitude and stream width. Differences of instream characteristics are likely to be caused by natural variability of the ecosystems but also, in some case, by anthropogenic influence like human settlements, agriculture and river embankment and pollution from small factory.


Fish assemblage Habitat variable Mountain streams Spatial and temporal variation Taihu Lake 



We are deeply grateful to J Liu, R Ma, XW Chen, ZQ Jing, JL Sun, Y Ding, F Wang, L Xue, K Jiang, S Hirota, and H Toyama for great field assistance. This work was supported by the Major Project in National Water Pollution Control and Management Technology (No. 08ZX07101-006-07, China) and Global COE Program (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; Center of excellence for Asian conservation ecology as a basis of human-nature mutualism) and Research Institute for East Asia Environment (Kyushu University). We would also like to thank Gary Grant, a member of the Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management in the UK for improving the English text and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful and insightful comments on our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianhua Li
    • 1
  • Liangliang Huang
    • 1
  • Limin Zou
    • 1
  • Yuichi Kano
    • 2
  • Tatsuro Sato
    • 2
  • Tetsukazu Yahara
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Water Environment in the Yangtze River, Ministry of Education, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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