The relationship between species and habitat is important in ecosystem-based fisheries management. Habitat suitability index (HSI) modeling is a valuable tool in ecology and can be used to describe the relationship between fish abundance and ecological variables in order to estimate the suitability of specific habitats. In the present study, an HSI model was applied to determine suitable habitats for the Caspian kutum (Rutilus frisii kutum), an important commercial species in the southern Caspian Sea. An arithmetic mean model (AMM) was found to be the most appropriate model for describing the relationship between two of the environmental variables investigated (depth and benthos biomass). However, a geometric mean model explained the evident relationship when all four environmental variables were used (depth, benthos biomass, photosynthetically active radiation and sea surface temperature). The areas with an HSI > 0.5 had over 85 % of the total catch indicating the reliability of the prediction of the Caspian kutum habitat using the AMM. The present study showed that depth and substrate structure are the most important environmental variables for the Caspian kutum to select its habitats, and between remotely sensed data, chlorophyll a, photosynthetically active radiation and sea surface temperature are the most critical parameters for near real-time prediction of the Caspian kutum habitat.
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We thank the Caspian Sea Ecology Research Center for providing fish and some field data during bottom trawl survey. Our appreciation also goes to Dr. Siquan Tian for reviewing manuscript and constructive comments. The first author likes to thank Iranian National Foundation of Elites.
Handling Editor: Thomas Mehner.
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Haghi Vayghan, A., Poorbagher, H., Taheri Shahraiyni, H. et al. Suitability indices and habitat suitability index model of Caspian kutum (Rutilus frisii kutum) in the southern Caspian Sea. Aquat Ecol 47, 441–451 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-013-9457-9
- Habitat suitability index model
- Suitability indices
- Ecosystem-based fisheries management
- Caspian kutum
- Caspian Sea