Ecological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 735–743 | Cite as

How do dams affect freshwater fish distributions in Japan? Statistical analysis of native and nonnative species with various life histories

  • Mideok HanEmail author
  • Michio Fukushima
  • Satoshi Kameyama
  • Takehiko Fukushima
  • Bunkei Matsushita
Original Article


We examined the effects of dams on freshwater fish species based on data collected during 1990–2004 from 200 drainage systems in Japan. Of the 76 fish species examined, the occurrence of 20 species within Petromyzontidae, Cyprinidae, Cobitididae, Salmonidae, Cottidae, and Gobiidae was negatively affected by the presence of dams located in the downstream reaches of fish survey sites, whereas the occurrence of 12 species within Cyprinidae, Adrianichthyidae, Centrarchidae, and Gobiidae was positively associated with the presence of dams. A significantly higher proportion of the fishes with a negative damming effect were diadromous species as compared to the fishes with a positive damming effect. Conversely, the latter group had a significantly higher proportion of nonnative species than the former. A significant interaction existed between the effects of damming and the effects of elevation on family-specific species richness. Families dominated by native migratory species showed a greater reduction in the number of species above dams at lower elevations, whereas families represented primarily by nonnative species had higher species richness above dams at higher elevations, except for Centrarchidae, which was always higher in species richness above dams regardless of elevation. Based on our findings, dams in Japan have adversely affected native freshwater fishes by blocking their migration routes, favoring nonnative fishes, or altering existing habitats.


Damming Habitat fragmentation Nonnative species Diadromous species Generalized additive models 



We thank M. Amemiya and T. Tsuji for their assistance in preparing the fish distribution data using GIS. We also thank the Water Resources Environment Technology Center for providing us with unpublished data on fish distribution. We gratefully acknowledge two anonymous reviewers whose comments substantially improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mideok Han
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Michio Fukushima
    • 2
  • Satoshi Kameyama
    • 2
  • Takehiko Fukushima
    • 1
  • Bunkei Matsushita
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental ScienceUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Advanced Research A501TsukubaJapan

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