Influence of Channel Erosion on Fish Habitat Utilization

Parna Parsapour-Moghaddam, Colin D. Rennie, Jon Midwood, Maja Cvetkovic, Steven Cooke

Monday 29 june 2015

14:35 - 14:50h at Oceania (level 0)

Themes: (T) Sediment management and morphodynamics, (ST) River morphodynamics

Parallel session: 2B. Sediment - River

Rivers provide essential habitat for aquatic organisms including fish. The interactions between erosion, sedimentation, and morphological changes may negatively affect the availability of habitat in these ecological systems. Over the past few decades, there have been attempts to predict the influence of morphological and hydraulic variables on available habitat. The main focus of this study is to investigate the habitat availability for young-of-year Northern Pike (Esox lucius), an important game fish, in a meandering clay-bed creek in the city of Ottawa, Canada. Suitability curves for this species were firstly established based on the bed substrate and hydraulic habitat variables. A fuzzy-based habitat suitability model, employing suitability indices of habitat variables, was also developed. The results of the habitat suitability model were then compared to the distribution of fish in the creek assessed using backpack electrofishing. The results predicted by the fuzzy-based habitat suitability model, were in good agreement with the fish sampling results. Moreover, it was also shown that the bed substrate played an important role in predicting utilization of the available habitat for young-of-the-year and juvenile Northern Pike.