Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Evaluating detectability of freshwater fish assemblages in tropical streams: is hand-seining sufficient?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Unprecedented threats to natural ecosystems mean that accurate quantification of biodiversity is a priority, particularly in the tropics which are underrepresented in monitoring schemes. Data from a freshwater fish assemblage in Trinidad were used to evaluate the effectiveness of hand-seining as a survey method in tropical streams. We uncovered large differences in species detectability when hand-seining was used alone, in comparison with when hand-seining and electrofishing were used together. The addition of electrofishing increased the number of individuals caught threefold, and increased the biomass fivefold. Some species were never detected using hand-seining, resulting in significant underestimates of species richness; rarefaction curves suggest that even when hand-seining effort increases, species richness is still underestimated. Diversity indices (Shannon and Simpson index) reveal that diversity was also significantly lower for hand-seined samples. Furthermore, the results of multivariate analyses investigating assemblage structure also differed significantly depending on whether they were based on hand-seined data alone, or a combination of hand-seining and electrofishing. Despite the extra equipment and maintenance required, these findings underline the value of including electrofishing when sampling tropical freshwater streams.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-849
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • Trinidad, Electrofishing, Alpha diversity, Detectability, Species richness, Sampling methods, Gear bias

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A balance of winners and losers in the Anthropocene

    Dornelas, M., Gotelli, N. J., Shimadzu, H., Moyes, F., Magurran, A. E. & McGill, B. J., May 2019, In : Ecology Letters. 22, 5, p. 847-854 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. β-diversity scaling patterns are consistent across metrics and taxa

    Antão, L. H., McGill, B., Magurran, A. E., Soares, A. & Dornelas, M., May 2019, In : Ecography. 42, 5, p. 1012-1023

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Me against who? Male guppies adjust mating behaviour according to their rival’s presence and attractiveness

    Órfão, I., Barbosa, M., Ojanguren, A. F., Vicente, L., Varela, S. & Magurran, A. E., 22 Mar 2019, In : Ethology. Early View, p. 1-10

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Change in the dominance structure of two marine-fish assemblages over three decades

    Moyes, F. & Magurran, A. E., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Fish Biology. 94, 1, p. 96-102 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Simulating shifts in taxonomic and functional β-diversity of ray-finned fishes: probing the Mariana disaster

    Trindade-Santos, I., Eduardo, A. A., Moyes, F., Martinez, P. A., Magurran, A. E. & Gouveia, S. F., Dec 2018, In : Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation. 16, 4, p. 186-192 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. River flow as a determinant of salmonid abundance and distribution: a review

    Warren, M., Dunbar, M. & Smith, C., 1 Jun 2015, In : Environmental Biology of Fishes. 98, 6, p. 1695-1717

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Male coloration signals direct benefits in the European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus)

    Smith, C., Phillips, A. P. G., Polačik, M. & Reichard, M., Apr 2014, In : Environmental Biology of Fishes. 97, 4, p. 335-341

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Evidence of female-promoted polyandry in Trinidadian guppies

    Barbosa, M. & Magurran, A. E., Jan 2011, In : Environmental Biology of Fishes. 90, 1, p. 95-102 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249965342