Modelling the habitat requirement of riverine fish species at the European scale: sensitivity to temperature and precipitation and associated uncertainty


M. Logez, Cemagref, UR HBAN, 1 rue Pierre-Gilles de Gennes – CS 10030, F-92761 Antony, France. E-mail:


Abstract –  Species distribution models (SDMs) have been widely used for different purposes such as studying species niche or forecasting the effects of global change on species distribution. Nevertheless, these models are often calibrated on datasets that only cover a fraction of the species’ realised niches, which could lead to unrealistic results. The aim of this study was to model the habitat requirements of 21 freshwater fish species that are native to Europe, using a dataset that accurately reflects their realised niches. Both temperature and precipitation were used as climatic factors to model the habitat requirements of the species, and the uncertainty associated with the fitted environment–occurrence relationships was examined. The results demonstrated the importance of accounting for these two climatic components when estimating the habitat requirements of riverine fish species and whether the uncertainty associated with model expectations varies with the species and the environmental factor considered. These results are discussed with regard to the known ecology of the 21 riverine fish species and within the perspective of climate change.