Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Raines, C.D., and L.E. Miranda. 2016. Role of riparian shade on the fish assemblage of a reservoir littoral. Environmental Biology of Fishes 99:753-760 .


Research into the effects of shade on reservoir fish assemblages is lacking, with most such efforts focused on streams. Unlike streams, the canopy in reservoirs is restricted to the shoreline, and may not have the influential effect reported in streams. We compared fish assemblages between shaded and unshaded locations in a shallow reservoir. Overall species richness (gamma diversity) was higher in shaded sites, and fish assemblage composition differed between shaded and unshaded sites. Average light intensity was 66% lower in shaded sites, but average temperature and dissolved oxygen were < 5% lower. Unlike streams where shade can have large effects on water physicochemistry, in reservoirs shade-related differences in fish assemblages were due principally to differences in light intensity. Diversity in light intensity and spectral composition in shaded and unshaded sites can create diverse mosaics of light-based habitats that enhance species assemblages.