This study examined the spatial components of inconnu Stenodus leucichthys spawning habitat use in the Selawik River, Alaska. Little is known about inconnu critical habitat needs; however, current studies of inconnu spawning behavior suggest a high level of habitat selectivity. This level of selectivity implies that there are specific habitat characteristics that these fish require for spawning. The purpose of this study was to build a heuristic habitat model that can be used to better understand inconnu spawning site selection in remote Alaskan watersheds. Using readily available, low- or no-cost remote sensing data layers, geographical information systems (GIS) were used in conjunction with multivariate statistics in an attempt to clarify relationships between geomorphologic features and spawning site selection. Spatial resolution of the remotely sensed data available in this study did not provide sufficient spatial detail to generate statistical correlations between spawning habitat selection and landscape characterizations. However, spawning occurred in areas of transition from high to low gradients, and in reaches typified as having very low slopes with very high sinuosity. Additionally, exploratory use of Radarsat fine beam 1 data favored its future application in fisheries investigations. This study is an initial step toward more research into inconnu spawning habitat.
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