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SFS Annual Meeting

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PREDICTING THE SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION AND RICHNESS OF FISH ACROSS THE NORTH SLOPE OF ALASKA

Knowledge of species distributions are necessary to help balance conservation and development. This data can be used to minimize development in high richness areas and protect biodiversity hotspots. However, some remote areas such as the North Slope of Alaska are undergoing rapid development but are difficult to access, and so species distribution data is lacking. Therefore, we combined remotely sensed data (e.g., MODIS Land Surface Temperature or Landsat derived vegetation cover) with observed fish presences in species distribution models, and mapped the distribution of 19 commercially and culturally important fish in the North Slope of Alaska. The predicted probabilities of detection of each species were based on upstream environmental characteristics calculated for every stream segment. We then spatially joined detection probabilities of each species to the corresponding stream segment in the study area, and analyzed the resulting maps for patterns. The model-derived detection probabilities were combined into a species richness value to portray each streams’ relative importance for biodiversity. These distribution and richness maps can help inform fish conservation and the development of future management plans in this and other rapidly developing areas.

John Olson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), School of Natural Sciences, California State University Monterey Bay, CA, USA, joolson@csumb.edu;


Arev Markarian (Primary Presenter/Author), California State University - Monterey Bay, amarkarian@csumb.edu;


Jessie Doyle (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), California State University - Monterey Bay, jdoyle@csumb.edu;