Identifying natural catchment landscape influences on tropical stream organisms: classifying stream reaches of the Hawaiian Islands

Abstract

Stream classifications can be used to understand patterns within and across river networks and are most informative when they offer insight into patterns in stream habitat or biology. We developed a classification of Hawaiian stream reaches based on influences of natural landscape features on distributions of stream organisms to understand patterns in ecological potential across five Hawaiian Islands. Our objectives were to (1) identify natural landscape variables strongly associated with species distributions and likely to affect stream habitat; and (2) classify Hawaiian stream reaches based on relationships between landscape variables and distributions of native stream taxa. We used canonical correspondence analysis to identify natural landscape variables associated with distributions of nine native stream taxa. To classify reaches, we then used a conditional inference tree that identified significant influences of natural landscape variables on taxa distributions and showed that elevation, channel slope, hydrologic soil grouping, and rainfall were all important predictors of species distributions. Results were used to develop reach classes that describe differences in stream habitat. Our research adds to current understanding of landscape controls on the biota of tropical island streams and provides a tool for decision makers tasked with developing conservation and adaptation strategies.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful for financial support from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (FS 12-JV-11272138-039) as well support from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (F15AP00113) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS, F14AP00131 and F12AC00708) which funded this work through the Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership (HFHP). The USFWS also supported this work through the National Fish Habitat Partnership (F13AC00565 and F11AC00709), and we also acknowledge support from the US Geological Survey National Climate Adaptation Science Center (G10AC00129). Michigan State University also supported this research. We wish to thank the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources and the Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership for supplying us with datasets to complete this research. Finally, we would also like to thank the numerous individuals and collaborators who provided valuable insight during the development of this manuscript, with a special thanks to Dr. Gordon Smith and Dr. Dan Polhemus.

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Correspondence to Ralph W. Tingley III.

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Tingley, R.W., Infante, D.M., MacKenzie, R.A. et al. Identifying natural catchment landscape influences on tropical stream organisms: classifying stream reaches of the Hawaiian Islands. Hydrobiologia 826, 67–83 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-018-3726-5

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Keywords

  • Classification
  • Hawaii
  • Ecology
  • Hierarchical