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Keywords:

  • turbidity;
  • sediment;
  • dominance;
  • competition;
  • density

Abstract –  Fish diversity is strongly affected by habitat degradation (e.g., increased turbidity) and invasive species. We examined the effects of turbidity, velocity, length, dominance and intra- and interspecific competition on focal point depth, movement rate, dominance and aggression rate in native rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides) and invasive yellowfin shiners (Notropis lutipinnis) in a southern Appalachian stream (NC, USA). We compared results for intra- and interspecific groups of fishes at two densities (two and four fishes), three turbidity levels (10, 20 and 30 nephelometric turbidity units), and two velocities (12, 18 cm·s−1). Dominance was significantly correlated with length in intraspecific groups of both species, and dominant fish held more profitable foraging positions about 75% of the time. Yellowfin shiners were dominant more often than rosyside dace in interspecific trials. Akaike’s Information Criterion indicated that models containing turbidity, velocity, species and intraspecific competition, explained the greatest amount of information in focal point depth data. By contrast, movement and aggression rates were best explained by models based on dominance and velocity. Finally, aggression rate was best explained by models containing fish length and turbidity. These results indicate that habitat degradation, intra- and interspecific interactions influence the foraging behaviour and future success of these species in the Little Tennessee River drainage.