Get access

Fish assemblages structure and function along environmental gradients in rivers of Gabon (Africa)

Authors


T. Oberdorff, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD – UR 131), Département Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques USM 403, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France;
e-mail: oberdorf@mnhn.fr

Abstract

Abstract –  We examined patterns in fish species assemblages structure and function along environmental gradients in rivers of Gabon. Species presence–absence data from 52 sites were first analysed by canonical correspondence analysis. Results showed that the position of sites along the upstream–downstream gradient, together with elevation and water conductance were the most important predictors of local fish assemblage composition. Assemblage richness and trophic structure were further investigated using regression tree analysis. Results revealed a general increase in species richness from upstream to downstream areas and a transition from insectivorous to omnivorous, herbivorous and piscivorous species along this longitudinal gradient. There were several similarities between these previous patterns and those observed in other temperate streams suggesting a potential convergence in fish assemblage along environmental gradients in tropical and temperate riverine systems. From a conservation standpoint, these results highlight the need to evaluate all habitat types along rivers longitudinal gradient to integrate the full spectrum of species assemblages within conservation plans.

Ancillary