Species similarity of freshwater fish assemblages can be affected by geographic distance between study sites and environmental conditions, although the contribution of each to spatial patterns remains unclear. We sampled 15 coastal lakes connected to Lake Michigan to determine which fish species were present and assess associations between species similarity, distance, and environmental conditions. Our goal was to determine the potential contribution of each factor in shaping spatial patterns of fish assemblages. Fish sampling was conducted at five 10-minute electrofishing transects near the shoreline. Each fish captured was identified to species, measured for length, and released. We characterized environmental conditions by measuring water/organic sediment depths, submerged vegetation, temperature, conductivity, oxidation-reduction potential, dissolved oxygen concentration, and turbidity for each transect. We have completed all fish sampling, and are now beginning data analysis.
Faculty Mentor: Carl Ruetz III, Annis Water Resources Institute