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Overwinter habitat of minnows in small, southern Ontario streams

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Title: Overwinter habitat of minnows in small, southern Ontario streams
Author: Davis, Lindsay
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Cockburn, Jaclyn
Abstract: Aquatic ecosystems experience stressors from the winter season and land use changes that impact physical habitat. Stream restoration is used to improve degraded habitat and requires an understanding of physical habitat requirements. There is limited understanding of minnow overwinter habitat because most studies have focused on salmonids and winter conditions make it difficult to study fish habitat with current methods. A methodology was developed to improve monitoring overwinter habitat and behaviour in the presence of ice-cover. The working hypothesis is that minnows migrate to deep pools, with low-velocities, during the winter. Minnow presence and physical habitat characteristics were monitored from November 2014 – May 2015 at nine sites throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Physical characteristics were observed to have minimal influence on fish distribution but refuge type influenced fish presence. This thesis provides a comprehensive, multi-site analysis of overwintering behaviour in an effort to provide further insight into overwinter habitat.
Date: 2016-05
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