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The Importance of Including Water Temperature Simulations in a 2D Fish Habitat Model for the St. Lawrence River

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INRS–Centre Eau Terre Environnement, 490 de la Couronne, Québec City, QC G1K 9A9, Canada
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Integrated Statistics Inc., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 17 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, USA
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Direction de L’expertise sur la Faune Aquatique, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, 880 Chemin Sainte-Foy, 2e étage, Québec City, QC G1S 4X4, Canada
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Environnement et Changement Climatique Canada, Service Météorologique du Canada–Section Hydrologie, 801-1550 Avenue d’Estimauville, Québec City, QC G1J 0C3, Canada
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School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: José Maria Santos
Water 2021, 13(13), 1736; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131736
Received: 17 May 2021 / Revised: 14 June 2021 / Accepted: 21 June 2021 / Published: 23 June 2021
Extreme climatic conditions likely caused a massive fish mortality during the summer of 2001 in the St. Lawrence River. To corroborate this hypothesis, we used a physical habitat simulation approach incorporating hydraulic and water temperature models. Spawning Habitat Suitability Indices (HSI) for common carp (Cyprinus carpio) were developed using fuzzy logic and applied to the model outputs to estimate habitat weighted usable area during the event. The results revealed that areas suitable for common carp spawning (HSI > 0.3) were severely reduced by high water temperatures, which exceeded 28 °C during the mortality event. During the mortality event, the amount of suitable habitat was reduced to <200 ha/day, representing less than 15% of the maximum potential suitable habitat in the study reach. In addition, the availability of cooler habitats that could have been used as thermal refuges was also reduced. These results indicate that the high water temperature in spawning areas and reduced accessibility to thermal refuge habitats exposed the carp to substantial physiological and environmental stress. The high water temperatures were highly detrimental to the fish and eventually led to the observed mortalities. This study demonstrates the importance of including water temperature in habitat suitability models. View Full-Text
Keywords: 2D model; common carp; fish habitat; fuzzy logic; water temperature 2D model; common carp; fish habitat; fuzzy logic; water temperature
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ouellet, V.; St-Hilaire, A.; Secretan, Y.; Mingelbier, M.; Morin, J.; Dugdale, S.J. The Importance of Including Water Temperature Simulations in a 2D Fish Habitat Model for the St. Lawrence River. Water 2021, 13, 1736. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131736

AMA Style

Ouellet V, St-Hilaire A, Secretan Y, Mingelbier M, Morin J, Dugdale SJ. The Importance of Including Water Temperature Simulations in a 2D Fish Habitat Model for the St. Lawrence River. Water. 2021; 13(13):1736. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131736

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ouellet, Valerie, André St-Hilaire, Yves Secretan, Marc Mingelbier, Jean Morin, and Stephen J. Dugdale 2021. "The Importance of Including Water Temperature Simulations in a 2D Fish Habitat Model for the St. Lawrence River" Water 13, no. 13: 1736. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131736

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