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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spatial and temporal ecology of native and introduced fish larvae in Lower Putah Creek, California


For two years we studied the distribution and abundance of native and introduced fish larvae in Putah Creek (Yolo County, CA); a low elevation regulated stream. We used light traps and conical drift nets to sample the fish larvae at two spatially separated sites from March through July 1997 and at four sites from February through August 1998. Native larvae occurred both earlier in the year and in higher abundance than those of introduced species. Both native larvae and overall numbers of larvae were more abundant at upstream sites in both years. Larval sampling appeared to be sensitive to the detection ofrare species. Drift nets and light traps collected similar numbers of larvae, but each method tended to select for different taxa. There were significant trends in diel patterns of abundance, with more fish larvae being found during the hours of darkness. We suggest that differences between the sites were due to habitat changes resulting from an upstream dam that has created a refuge of diverse habitat and cool flowing water for native taxa.

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