Pires DF, Pires AM, Collares-Pereira MJ, Magalhães MF. Variation in fish assemblages across dry-season pools in a Mediterranean stream: effects of pool morphology, physicochemical factors and spatial context. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 2010: 19: 74–86. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Abstract – Knowledge of patterns of refuge use by fish is critical for maintaining biodiversity in drought-prone streams. In this study, the fish assemblages of 21 dry-season pools in a Mediterranean stream were characterised and related to three sets of factors reflecting pool morphology, physicochemistry and spatial context. Fish were associated with the three sets of variables, with variation partitioning indicating that overall species richness and abundance were primarily related to pool morphology but relative species abundances were mainly associated with physicochemical contexts. In general, species richness was the highest but overall fish abundance was the lowest in large pools. Pools well shaded by riparian canopy held the highest richness and abundance of native fish, but relative species abundances and assembly structure varied among pools contingent on canopy cover, substrate composition and spatial location. These results suggested that conservation of fish diversity in Mediterranean streams requires networks of pools with diverse sizes and physicochemical contexts.