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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modelling and predicting biogeographical patterns in river networks

Abstract

Statistical analysis and interpretation of biogeographical phenomena in rivers is now possible using a spatially explicit modelling framework, which has seen significant developments in the past decade. I used this approach to identify a spatial extent (geostatistical range) in which the abundance of the parasitic freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera L.) is spatially autocorrelated in river networks. I show that biomass and abundance of host fish are a likely explanation for the autocorrelation in mussel abundance within a 15-km spatial extent. The application of universal kriging with the empirical model enabled precise prediction of mussel abundance within segments of river networks, something that has the potential to inform conservation biogeography. Although I used a variety of modelling approaches in my thesis, I focus here on the details of this relatively new spatial stream network model, thus advancing the study of biogeographical patterns in river networks.

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