Consideration of habitat quality in a river connectivity index for anadromous fishes

Autores: Angulo Rodeles, Amaia (Autor de correspondencia); Leunda Urretavizcaya, Pedro Manuel; Elso, J. ; Ardaiz, J.; Galicia Paredes, David; Miranda Ferreiro, Rafael
Título de la revista: INLAND WATERS
ISSN: 2044-2041
Volumen: 9
Número: 3
Páginas: 278 - 288
Fecha de publicación: 2019
Lugar: WOS
River fragmentation is one of the main threats to diadromous fish species. We aimed to create a new and simple connectivity index to calculate habitat accessibility that considers habitat suitability for fish species, using the Bidasoa River basin in the north of Spain and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) as an example. A habitat connectivity index (HCI) was calculated for the river basin using upstream passability and segment length as variables. We then calculated a new habitat quality index for each river segment and multiplied it by river segment length to create the Breeding Habitat Connectivity Index (HCIb). These 2 indices were first calculated using only upstream barrier passability and then by adding downstream passability. In each case, the indices show different outcomes but a similar pattern: in all cases, main-stem obstacles closest to the river mouth most affected the connectivity index, even when habitat quality was considered. Although we cannot compare the indices to the real area used by salmon because spatial tracking was not performed during the study years, we consider that including habitat quality in a river connectivity index adds useful information for scientists and managers.