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Seasonal effects on the potential spatial distribution of Amazonian migratory catfishes

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The Amazon basin, spanning approximately 540,000 km2, exhibits distinct fluviometric surfaces that differentiate between the dry and rainy seasons. This seasonality, along with hydrological connectivity and the creation of new habitats during the rainy season, significantly promotes the migration, reproduction, and feeding of potamodromous fishes. To estimate the realized niches of species, species distribution models (SDMs) employ the extrapolation of environmental predictors and species occurrence data. Our objective was to compare the spatial distribution of migratory fish species in the Amazon basin using SDMs based on variables characterizing the dry season, rainy season, and a combination of both. All evaluated treatments demonstrated high performance and exhibited different distribution ranges in the applied SDMs, particularly when combining environmental variables with occurrence data during the rainy season. These findings support the hypothesis that spatial distribution is influenced by seasonality. The increased fluviometric surface and enhanced connectivity of the rainy season favor both longitudinal and lateral migrations of Amazonian migratory catfishes. Moreover, the spatial distribution reveals four critical spatial overlap (CSO) regions with higher population densities regardless of the season. These CSOs primarily coincide with the Amazon alluvial plain, which exhibits the highest rates of endemism, species richness, and abundance of organisms. Considering the discontinuous and heterogeneous nature of fluviometry when performing niche modeling processes is pivotal, although SDMs applied in the Amazon generally ignore such regional seasonality.

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The datasets generated or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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The authors are especially thankful to four independent reviewers who contributed substantially to improving this manuscript and amplifying the scientific scope of the results of this research. The authors would like to thank all the institutions that contributed to the development of this research: “Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso (UNEMAT – Nova Xavantina),” “Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA),” Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia (UFRA) and “Instituto Federal Goiano (IFGoiano).” In addition, the authors are also grateful to the institutions that supported this research: “Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES),” “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)” e “Fundação de Amparo and Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa (FADESP).”


This research was financially supported by grants from the Brazilian Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES-Finance Code 001), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq; DPS-304494/2019–4, OLB-141754/2020–6), and Fundação de Amparo e Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa (FADESP; TOB-460000.7982). Daniel de Paiva Silva received a productivity grant from CNPq (process number: 307514/2023–4) and was supported by FAPEG (process number: 202310267001380).

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All authors attended to, conceived, and designed the investigation. Facundo Alvarez, Omar Loyola-Bartra, and Daniel de Paiva Silva analyzed the data. All authors wrote the main manuscript. Facundo Alvarez, Tiago Magalhães da Silva Freitas, Tiago Octavio Begot, Daniel de Paiva Silva, Bruno da Silveira Prudente, and Omar Loyola-Bartra performed the main manuscript revisions. Tiago Magalhães da Silva Freitas scores on the biological aspects of the species. Facundo Alvarez led the project.

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Correspondence to Facundo Alvarez or Tiago Octavio Begot.

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Critical spatial overlap, endemism, and richness of Amazonian fish species. The gradient of endemism and richness of Amazonian fish species superimposed on the four regions of critical spatial overlap obtained in the dry (red dashed line) and rainy (blue dashed line) seasons and complemented with the frequency histogram of the null model (999 permutations) between the occurrence records and the average values of endemism and richness. The solid blue lines represent the limits of significance (α=0.05), and the solid red lines represent the means of endemism and richness. The endemism and richness values of Amazonian fish species were provided by Dagosta et al. (2021) (JPG 5069 KB)


Occurrence records and algorithms performance. Initial and final occurrence records for the seven migratory fish species of the Amazon and the corresponding statistics true skill statistic (TSS) and the area under the receiver–operator curve (AUC) evaluated for each season (mean ± standard deviation) (XLSX 14 KB)


Algorithm performance by treatment. Evaluation through the statistics true skill statistic (TSS) and the area under the receiver–operator curve (AUC) of the performance (mean ± standard deviation) of the algorithms Domain (DOM), Maxent (MXS), Random Forest (RF), Support Vector Machine (SVM), and of the ensemble modeling approach (ENS) for the nine evaluated treatments derived from the combinations of the dry seasons (DRY) and rainy seasons (RAINY) and from both (ALL) (XLSX 17 KB)

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Alvarez, F., Freitas, T.M.d.S., Begot, T.O. et al. Seasonal effects on the potential spatial distribution of Amazonian migratory catfishes. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries (2024).

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