Community Ecology of Stream Fishes: Concepts, Approaches, and Techniques

Preface: A Renaissance in Stream Fish Ecology

Kurt D. Fausch


Stream fish ecology has undergone a renaissance since the mid-1990s. Our previous focus was typically on developing conceptual and statistical models to predict fish populations and assemblages based on variables measured at the local scale (e.g., Grossman et al. 1982; Fausch et al. 1988), although a few investigators were thinking at the larger scale of stream segments or networks (e.g., Schlosser 1987; Osborne and Wiley 1992). In the mid-1990s, a renewed interest in fish movement (Gowan et al. 1994) and heightened interest in spatial ecology (Kareiva 1994; Tilman and Kareiva 1997) and metapopulation processes (Rieman and McIntyre 1995; Schlosser 1995; Schlosser and Angermeier 1995) led stream fish ecologists to make a quantum leap in their thinking. In turn, this led to the advent of multiscale investigations (e.g., Torgersen et al. 1999; see Durance et al. 2006) and conceptual models of riverscapes that attempt to integrate processes across scales (Ward 1998; Fausch et al. 2002; Wiens 2002). The growth in this field has been remarkable. For example, a search on the keywords “stream fish movement” (Science Citation Index; 20 August 2009) revealed that during 1990–1997, publications on this topic were increasing at a rate of 10 papers per year, on average (linear regression; r2 = 0.98), whereas during 1998–2009, the rate was 35 papers per year (r2 = 1.00). Likewise, citations of one of the papers that developed the idea of riverscapes (Fausch et al. 2002) have increased 31 papers per year since 2003 (r2 = 0.99).