, Volume 543, Issue 1, pp 191–198 | Cite as

River channelization effects on fish population structure in the Larraun river (Northern Spain)

  • Javier Oscoz
  • Pedro M. Leunda
  • Rafael Miranda
  • Cristina García-Fresca
  • Francisco Campos
  • Ma Carmen Escala
Primary Research Paper


As a consequence of the construction of the A-15 highway between 1991 and 1995, some modifications affecting the Larraun River (Navarra, North of Spain) were made. One of the most important effects was the channelization of a section of the river in the middle zone. Fish were caught by electrofishing in August of 1996 in the channelized reach, as well as in non-modified stretches upstream and downstream. Physical and chemical variables and shelter availability were also analyzed. The captured fish were measured (total length) and released into the river. We calculated the density, biomass, length distribution and diversity, comparing the obtained results from the different stretches. The number of species was higher in the lower zones of the river and diversity increased progressively downstream. The fish density in the channelized section was slightly lower than in the other two points. Also biomass in the channelized section was about a factor of 10 smaller than the calculated biomass in unaltered points. Moreover, in comparison with the unaltered sections of the river, in the channelized area a major decrease in the presence of fish larger than 150 mm was detected. The low shelter availability in the channelized section, lack of bank vegetation and alterations in the substratum could explain the observed variations in the length distribution, biomass and the lower value of the density of European minnow, Phoxinus phoxinus (Linnaeus, 1758).


river alteration channelization fish population density biomass length classes 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Oscoz
    • 1
  • Pedro M. Leunda
    • 1
  • Rafael Miranda
    • 1
  • Cristina García-Fresca
    • 1
  • Francisco Campos
    • 2
  • Ma Carmen Escala
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Ecology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Miguel de Cervantes European UniversityValladolidSpain

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