Fish Habitat Use Within and Across Wetland Classes in Coastal Wetlands of the Five Great Lakes: Development of a Fish-based Index of Biotic Integrity

Donald G. Uzarski, Thomas M. Burton, Matthew J. Cooper, Joel W. Ingram, Steven T.A. Timmermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relative importance of Great Lake, ecoregion, wetland type, and plant zonation in structuring fish community composition was determined for 61 Great Lakes coastal wetlands sampled in 2002. These wetlands, from all five Great Lakes, spanned nine ecoregions and four wetland types (open lacustrine, protected lacustrine, barrier-beach, and drowned river mouth). Fish were sampled with fyke nets, and physical and chemical parameters were determined for inundated plant zones in each wetland. Land use/cover was calculated for 1- and 20-km buffers from digitized imagery. Fish community composition within and among wetlands was compared using correspondence analyses, detrended correspondence analyses, and non-metric multidimensional scaling. Within-site plant zonation was the single most important variable structuring fish communities regardless of lake, ecoregion, or wetland type. Fish community composition correlated with chemical/physical and land use/cover variables. Fish community composition shifted with nutrients and adjacent agriculture within vegetation zone. Fish community composition was ordinated from Scirpus, Eleocharis, and Zizania, to Nuphar/Nymphaea, and Pontederia/Sagittaria/Peltandra to Spargainium to Typha. Once the underlying driver in fish community composition was determined to be plant zonation, data were stratified by vegetation type and an IBI was developed for coastal wetlands of the entire Great Lakes basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Volume31
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Coastal wetlands
  • Great Lakes
  • IBI
  • bioassessment
  • fish
  • fish community composition
  • land use effect

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