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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 962071, 8 pages
Research Article

A Habitat Model for Fish Communities in Large Streams and Small Rivers

1Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
2School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Received 3 August 2011; Revised 11 January 2012; Accepted 25 January 2012

Academic Editor: L. M. Chu

Copyright © 2012 Mark B. Bain and Haifeng Jia. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Habitat has become one of the fundamentals for managing the environment. We report on synthesis of 30 habitat models for fish species that inhabit large streams and small rivers. Our protocol for integration of many species-level habitat models was to form a robust, general model that reflected the most common characteristics of the reviewed models. Eleven habitat variables were most commonly used in habitat models, and they were grouped by water quality, reproduction, and food and cover. The developed relations defined acceptable and optimal conditions for each habitat variable. Water quality variables were mid-summer water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity. Other structural habitat variables were identified: riffle and pool velocity, riffle depth, and percent of the stream area with cover and pools. We conclude that it is feasible to consolidate species-level habitat models for fish that inhabit the same waterway type. Given the similarity among species models, our specification set will closely approximate the needs and optimal conditions of many species. These eleven variables can serve as design specifications for rehabilitating streams and small rivers in human dominated settings.