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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 275–285 | Cite as

The influence of residential and cottage development on littoral zone fish communities in a mesotrophic north temperate lake

  • Dan Taillon
  • Michael Fox
Article

Abstract

We used the rapid visual technique (RVT), an underwater visual assessment method developed in marine environments, to assess the influence of residential and cottage development on littoral zone fish communities in Pigeon Lake, a shallow, mesotrophic Canadian lake with extensive shoreline disturbance. We used RVT to assess 135 sites, stratified by degree of residential and cottage development (undeveloped, moderately developed, highly developed) and habitat type (three substrate/vegetation categories). Sites with different degrees of residential and cottage development did not differ significantly in species richness. When the RVT site scores of each species life stage (young-of-year, juveniles and adults) were compared among development categories, only 11% of species life stages showed significant differences; all were most abundant in moderately developed sites. Habitat had a greater influence than development on within-taxon abundance, as 46% of species life stages showed significant among-habitat differences in RVT score. The absence of significant fish community differences between developed and undeveloped sites may be due to the shallowness, extensive macrophyte cover and raised shorelines from the construction of the Trent-Severn Waterway. However, there do appear to be changes in the fish community over the last 35 years, as six cyprinids and one cyprinodont species that were present in Pigeon Lake in the 1970s were not detected by our sampling. RVT provided comparable data to that obtained by straight line transects on the relative abundance of species in the lake, but RVT was more effective at detecting species and life stages present at individual sites.

assessment methods fish assemblages habitat shoreline species diversity visual assessment 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Taillon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Fox
    • 3
  1. 1.Watershed Ecosystems Graduate ProgramTrent University,PeterboroughOntarioCanada
  2. 2.Ontario Ministry of Natural ResourcesFort FrancisON
  3. 3.Environmental and Resource Studies Program and Department of BiologyTrent UniversityOntarioCanada

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