Is scuba sampling a relevant method to study fish microhabitat in lakes? Examples and comparisons for three European species


  • Un resumen en español se incluye detrás del texto principal de este artículo.

Sébastien Brosse, CESAC, UMR 5576, CNRS – Université Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex, France; e-mail:


Abstract – We compared fish microhabitat use patterns in the littoral zone of a lake using a new direct method (point abundance sampling by scuba, PASS) and the widely used point abundance sampling by electrofishing technique (PASE). We collected microhabitat data for age 0+ roach (Rutilus rutilus L.), perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), and pike (Esox lucius L.). The two methods yielded different results for fish assemblage structure and microhabitat patterns. Using PASE, fish were mainly found in “shelter habitats” such as shallow waters and dense vegetation. It is likely that this behavior is caused by the disturbance of the observer stamping around. Using PASS, fish escapement behavior was rarely observed. Therefore, we concluded that this direct and nondestructive sampling technique can be used to provide an accurate microhabitat estimation of a fish community and is assumed to be more suitable than PASE for fish habitat studies.