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Florida Freshwater and Tidal Stream Fish Distribution Mapping

North America contains the greatest temperate freshwater biodiversity on Earth. However, this diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate. Modeling potential species habitat is an increasingly important tool for conservation, for invasive species management, and for climate change research. This project employed Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and DesktopGARP to generate maps of the potential habitats for 55 species of freshwater fish known to occur in Florida's panhandle region.

DesktopGARP is a software package for biodiversity and ecologic research that allows the user to predict and analyze wild species distributions. DesktopGARP was used to search for non-random associations between 20 environmental characteristics of places where fish species are known to occur versus those of the overall study region. The environmental characteristics used included measures of land use and land cover, stream size, location within the drainage network, flow, relative gradient, and sinuosity.

These maps will be valuable in increasing the long-term capacity for conservation and management of multiple freshwater fish and invertebrate species, aid in decision-making regarding water and surrounding land acquisitions, aid in monitoring species and habitats, and aid in the coordination and integration of conservation efforts at the stream segment, landscape and regional levels.

Download the Florida Freshwater and Tidal Stream Fish Distribution Mapping: Phase I Panhandle Final Report and GIS data from the project.

Contact us with comments or questions regarding the Florida Freshwater and Tidal Stream Fish Distribution Mapping project.