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Fish Species Diversity in Lakes

Clyde D. Barbour and James H. Brown
The American Naturalist
Vol. 108, No. 962 (Jul. - Aug., 1974), pp. 473-489
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2459679
Page Count: 17
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Fish Species Diversity in Lakes
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Abstract

Stepwise multiple regression was used to obtain preliminary insights into the environmental parameters which influence the number of fish species occurring in lakes. Results are summarized as follows: 1. For a sample of 70 lakes and inland seas from throughout the world, surface area and latitude account for about one-third of the variability in fish species diversity. 2. For a subsample of 14 North American lakes, latitude and surface area account for about 90% of the variability in species numbers. The large effect of latitude can be explained in terms of climatic severity and isolation from sources of colonization. 3. For a subsample of 14 African lakes, surface area, depth, and conductivity were primary variables affecting species diversity. 4. For 70 lakes of the world and 14 North American lakes, the slope of the species-area curve was low (z = 0.15-0.16). Apparently this reflects the fact that, whereas a relatively large number of species are available to colonize small lakes, larger ones are impoverished. Most of the latter are recent enough that there has not been time for endemic speciation to reach an equilibrium with extinction. We expect the large lakes of tropical Africa to be the closest to such an equilibrium, and it is encouraging that the slope of the species-area curve for the sample including these bodies of water is quite steep (z = 0.35). 5. On the basis of our data and analyses of species distribution in other insular habitats, four patterns of species diversity are distinguished.

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