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Modelling physical characteristics of river habitats

Abstract: The physical characteristics of river habitats constitute the setting in which fluvial biota dwell and thrive. Determining the spatial and temporal patterns of physical habitat characteristics and the main factors that control them is extremely important to increase the efficiency of river management, conservation, and restoration. This study determined spatial patterns of physical habitat characteristics for Atlantic and Mediterranean rivers in northern Spain and developed a river classification based on hydromorphological characteristics. Data gathered from almost 600 sites following a modified version of the River Habitat Survey methodology were used. In addition to the usual River Habitat Survey variables, the sequence of hydromorphologic units (i.e., areas exhibiting similar hydraulic characteristics, in terms of water velocity and depth), water depths, and widths were recorded. Unmodified reaches were selected computing the Habitat Modification Score. Multiple Linear Regression models were employed to test relationships between Principal Component Analyses that summarized physical river habitat characteristics with ecological relevance and environmental variables (i.e., climate, topography, land cover, and geology) at different spatial scales and used to predict physical habitat attributes for all river reaches. The density of hydromorphologic units, flow turbulence, substrate size, and channel dimensions were able to discriminate river classes within the river network, with topography being the main environmental driver of habitat characteristics (although climate, geology, and land cover were also relevant). This classification scheme could constitute a useful tool to restore physical habitat conditions in modified river reaches.

 Fuente: River Research and Applications Volume35, Issue7 September 2019 Pages 804-817

 Editorial: Wiley-Blackwell

 Fecha de publicación: 01/09/2019

 Nº de páginas: 14

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1002/rra.3456

 ISSN: 1535-1459,1535-1467

 Proyecto español: CTM2009?07447 ; BIA2015?71197

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1002/rra.3456