Knowledge of species' spatial distributions is crucial to the identification and prioritization of watersheds in need of restoration. Coupled with species' status, the presence and or absence of species can indicate biologically diverse vs. depauperate areas.
Because California inland native fish species have been extensiverly studied (e.g, Moyle 1976, Moyle et al. 1989, Moyle et al. 1995, Moyle 2002, Moyle et al. 2011, Moyle et al. 2013), changes in species distribution and status can be used as indicators of changes in overall aquatic ecosystem health.
In this project, we are compiling all available data for California inland native fish species (134) to create current and historical distribution maps using the PISCES database.
We are also incorporating status scores for most taxon for the years 1976, 2011, and 2013 in order to track changes in species imperilment or preservation. Because this data is spatially implicit, we will now be able to analyze biodiveristy patterns at multiple scales (statewide, regional, watershed).
Our goal is to identify areas most likely to protect aquatic biodiveristy into the future as well as areas needing different levels of restoration.
Future studies will also analyze existing and potential threats to biodiveristy throughout the state, including climate change, dam operations, and extractive landuses.
The ultimate goal is the prescription of conservation strategies specific to each area.