I evaluated a study performed by Albert Hazen Wright between 1902 and 1904, on the Tributaries of Lake Ontario in Monroe County, NY. I extracted data from Wright's original graphical analysis, and analyzed these data with Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), to assess the value of these data for use as historical benchmarks for future studies on the same tributaries. Wright identified 52 species of fish within his distribution diagrams, eight of the species were rare species and were not analyzed with the CCA. Of the 44 remaining species analyzed, 37 matched very well between Wright's interpretations of his data, and the results of my analysis. Six species were a partial match, and one, the Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi), was considered a subspecies and was not interpreted by Wright. Overall, Wright's interpretations matched well with my analysis of his data, and corresponded well with current understandings of the species x species and species x habitat relationships within a stream continuum from more recent studies. Wright's data set and interpretations proved to be accurate, and a valuable historical reference. I then examined these same tributaries for current fish populations, using a point-transect methodology and a combination of haul seine and dip nets to sample each macro-habitat (pool, riffle, run) present at each site. I found a total of 34 species of fish, three fewer than Wright's 37 species, within the same segments of these streams. Of the 34 species I found, eight were species Wright did not find. Introductions of native and non-native invasive species appeared to greatly influence the habitat associations of some species. I found that the habitat parameters river mile, depth, width and vegetation, had the greatest influence on fish distribution.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Fish communities-- New York (State)--Monroe County; Fishes--Geographical distribution
Environmental Science (MS)
Carson, Ben, "A Comparison of Fish Communities in Southwestern Lake Ontario Tributaries From One Century Ago" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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