Spatial and temporal variation of fish communities in four secondary channels of the San Juan River between Shiprock, NM and Bluff, UT were investigated from July 1993 through November 1994. Fish abundance and habitat availability data were collected to determine if physical attributes of sites influenced spatial and temporal variation in their fish communities. Stability of habitat was shown to positively influence the stability of the fish community. Analysis of variance revealed greater spatial than temporal variation in the abundance of red shiner, Cyprinella lutrensis, fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas, and flannelmouth sucker Catostomus latipinnis, while speckled dace, Rhinichthys osculus showed greater temporal variation. Ordination, using detrended correspondence analysis, revealed variation in fish communities by site, date, and sample year. Spatial variation was greatest during low-flow periods when the greatest differences in habitat among the four sites occurred. Spring runoff had the greatest temporal effect on the fish communities in secondary channels and appeared to ‘reset’ the communities by displacing those species that were less resistant to increased current velocities. This annual event may help maintain native fish species adapted to these conditions in the San Juan River while moderating the abundance of nonnative fish species.
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Gido, K.B., Propst, D.L. & Molles, M.C. Spatial and temporal variation of fish communities in secondary channels of the San Juan River, New Mexico and Utah. Environmental Biology of Fishes 49, 417–434 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007371019190