Monday, February 16, 2015

Using Fine-Scale GIS Data to Assess the Relationship Between Intra-Annual Environmental Niche Variability and Population Density in a Local Stream Fish Assemblage

GIS systems have proved useful in assessing species populations. Scientists are able to sample local populations and extrapolate their overall numbers. This analysis is applicable across a range of applications. This research analyzed the relationship between “environmental niche breadth and niche position and population density among species of stream fishes in a seasonally variable environment” using fine-scale GIS. They used this to study the patterns of 11 niche fish species. The data was collected four times a year on population and position. This allowed the researchers to find patterns in environmental variability that coincided with species variability.

Through the utilization of GIS study the analysis found that species in October were predicted by niche breadth and January was predicted by niche breadth and location. This gave them insight into the environmental factors that most effect species. It is integral to know which factors effect populations in different seasons. The results suggested that species are greatly affected by the amount and distribution of available habitats. This result transcends season and habitat. Both niche breadth and niche location affect local abundance.  

Knouft, J. H., Caruso, N. M., Dupre, P. J., Anderson, K. R., Trumbo, D. R., & Puccinelli, J. (2011). Using finescale GIS data to assess the relationship between intraannual environmental niche variability and population density in a local stream fish assemblage. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2(3), 303-311.

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