The spatial and temporal variations of the fish assemblages in mountain streams of China are poorly understood. The relationships between the fish assemblage and selected habitat features were examined in the North Tiaoxi River, one of headwaters of Taihu Lake. A total of 3,348 individuals belonging to 5 orders, 11 families, 25 genera and 34 species were collected including 33 native species and one invasive species. Among those, about 20 species were endemic to China. Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) was applied to compare fish assemblage structures from upstream to downstream during four seasons. Species assemblages differed along the stream continuum, but there was little apparent change associated with the seasons. Species richness and Shannon-Weaver index (H′) tended to increase along the stream continuum from the upstream to downstream and the proportion of invertivorous fish tended to significantly decrease along the continuum with a parallel significant increase in the percentage of omnivores. Fish assemblages were significantly related to both water quality and habitat structure variables. Canonical Correspondence Analysis ordinations (CCA) revealed that 6 of the 14 selected environmental variables had significant relationships with the fish assemblage such as distance to source, stream width, altitude, pH, water depth, and water velocity and different sampling sites were associated with different environmental variables in different seasons. The main differences in fish assemblage structure and diversity within the whole watercourse are probably related to large-scale factors such distance to source, altitude and stream width. Differences of instream characteristics are likely to be caused by natural variability of the ecosystems but also, in some case, by anthropogenic influence like human settlements, agriculture and river embankment and pollution from small factory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science