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Abiotic factors influence species co‐occurrence patterns of lake fishes


Cordero, Ruben D.; Jackson, Donald A. (2021), Abiotic factors influence species co‐occurrence patterns of lake fishes, Dryad, Dataset,


This dataset contains the identity of the lakes used for the analyses performed in the paper: Cordero, R., & Jackson, D. (2021). Abiotic factors influence species co‐occurrence patterns of lake fishes. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.13587”.

This study analyzed the effect of habitat size (i.e., lake area and depth) on the pattern of co-occurrence of multiple fish species in lakes from two different regions, western and central, in Ontario, Canada.

The main results of this study were that area and depth showed a significant influence across all the species co-occurrence patterns, in both regions. However, when analyzing groups of species involved in biotic interactions like predator-prey or species sharing similar habitat requirements, we found significant results only for lake area in the central region, which suggests a context-dependency on factors linked with region.

Our results demonstrate the effect of environmental variables on species co-occurrence patterns, but the divergent results obtained between geographic regions suggest that such patterns are context-dependent. This study emphasizes the importance of considering abiotic factors in null models of species co-occurrence to obtain reliable and detailed information about the association patterns between species.


We used data from the Aquatic Habitat Inventory (AHI), which is a program from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Fisheries, and it was conducted from 1968 to 1985 having regular updating with data collected by new studies. This database contains records of the presence-absence of 99 fish species, including introduced species, in almost 9900 lakes (sampling units) distributed across Ontario.

The AHI program was designed to sample all fish habitats within each lake using a variety of gill nets, seine nets, minnow traps, and electrofishing devices and provides species presence-absence data along with select environmental data. Here, we show only the identity and location of the subset of analyzed lakes in this study.

From the database of the Aquatic Habitat Inventory (AHI) which is a program created by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, we grouped several tertiary watersheds from the central and northwestern regions in Ontario based on adjacency of watersheds and similarity of community composition. This approach allowed us to gather a greater number of lakes into a common set within each of the two regions considered while controlling for biogeographical influences (e.g., post-glacial colonization, climate). We analyzed a total of 1102 lakes, grouped in three adjacent tertiary watersheds in the central region of Ontario, and 1238 lakes grouped in 6 adjacent tertiary watersheds in the northwestern region of Ontario.

Usage Notes

This database contains the identity and location (latitude and longitude) of each lake analyzed. 


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada