Techniques for evaluating the spatial behaviour of river fish
Authors: Hodder, K.H., Masters, J.E.G., Beaumonont, W.R.C., Gozlan, R.E., Pinder, A.C., Knight, C.M. and Kenward, R.E.
Journal: Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences
Radio-tagging is widely used for studies of movements, resource use and demography of land vertebrates, with potential to combine such data for predictive modelling of populations from individuals. Such modelling requires standard measures of individual space use, for combination with data on resources, survival, dispersal and breeding. This paper describes how protocols for efficient collection of space-use data can be developed during a pilot study, and reviews the ways in which such data can be used for space-use indices that help answer biological questions, with examples from a study of riverine pike (Esox lucius). Analyses of diurnal activity and spatio-temporal correlation were used to assess when to record locations, and analyses of home range increments were used to define the number of location records necessary to assess seasonal ranges. We stress the importance of developing protocols that use minimal numbers of locations from each individual, so that analyses can be based on samples of many individuals. The efficacy of link-distance (e.g. cluster analysis) and location density (e.g. contouring) techniques for spatial analysis for river fish were compared, and the utility of clipping off areas to river banks was assessed.
In addition, a new automated analysis was used to estimate distances along river mid-lines. These techniques made it possible to quantify interactions between individuals and their habitat: including a significant increase in core range size during floods, significant preference for deep pools, and a lack of exclusive territories.
Preferred by: Adrian Pinder