Predicting brook trout distributions using the aquatic ecosystem classification for Ontario’s rivers and streams
Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
Impacts of climate change on brook trout
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Brook trout are a highly valued aquatic species that are sensitive to changes in their environment. Studies show that optimal brook trout habitats have declined due to anthropogenic effects like forest fragmentation, agricultural use, and road densities. Understanding the distribution of brook trout within streams will help managers and conservationists maintain population status. Several models have been used for predicting the occurrence of brook trout within streams based on specific brook trout needs and landscape impacts. The Aquatic Ecosystem Classification for Ontario’s Rivers and Streams was established in 2013 as a tool to classify all streams in Ontario into ecologically homologous units at several spatial scales. Both habitat and AEC class code requirements could be potential management tools in predicting the presence or absence of brook trout. Overall, the habitat variables examined did not show any utility in predicting brook trout presence or absence. The limited difference of presence and absence status within each AEC class codes proved that the AEC does not provide utility in predicting brook trout occurrence within classified streams.