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Open Access item Fish–habitat relationships and fish conservation in small coastal streams in southern Spain

Authors:Clavero, Miguel
Blanco-Garrido, F.
Prenda, J.
Keywords:Mediterranean streams, local extinctions, freshwater fish, longitudinal gradients, small river basins
Issue Date:Aug-2005
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons
Citation:Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 15: 415–426 (2005)
Abstract:1. Studies dealing with the fish fauna of coastal streams are scarce in the scientific literature, particularly those from Mediterranean climates. Owing to their small size, these systems suffer extreme seasonal fluctuations, following the typical Mediterranean flood–drought cycle and leading to a high risk of extinction to freshwater fish. 2. This work analyses fish distribution in 14 stream stretches belonging to eight basins in the northern sector of the Strait of Gibraltar (southern Spain). Fish–habitat relationships were studied through multivariate ordination techniques at two scales: basin and stretch. 3. A principal components analysis clearly discriminated larger and more sinuous basins from smaller and steeper ones. This ordination was related to the non-migratory freshwater fish species richness and to the total number of fish species present in the middle reaches of each basin. 4. The main sources of variation in community composition and habitat characteristics in the different stretches were related to a clear upstream–downstream gradient, along which total species richness increased. 5. These small coastal basins are inhabited by two highly endangered species, Andalusian toothcarp (Aphanius baeticus) and Iberian chub (Squalius pyrenaicus), and have similar or higher overall freshwater species richness than larger adjacent basins. The near absences of flow regulation and introduced species make these streams one of the few types of Iberian aquatic system where unaltered fish–habitat relationships can be studied.
Publisher version (URL):http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.679/pdf
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