Title

Fish Faunal Provinces of the Conterminous United States of America Reflect Historical Geography and Familial Composition

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2016

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Although the conterminous USA has a long history of ichthyological exploration, the description of biogeographical provinces has been ad hoc. In this study we quantitatively determined fish faunal provinces and interpreted them in the context of the geological history of North America. We also evaluated influences of major river basin occupancy and contemporary environmental factors on provincial patterns. Our data set comprised 794 native fishes, which we used to generate a presence and absence matrix for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) four-digit hydrologic units. Three nested data sets were analysed separately: primary freshwater families, continental freshwater families (including primary and secondary families) and all freshwater families (including primary, secondary and peripheral families). We used clustering analysis to delimit faunal breaks and one-way analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) to determine significance among clusters (i.e. provinces). We used an indicator-species analysis to identify species that contributed most to province delineations and a similarity-percentage (SIMPER) analysis to describe the relative influence of representatives from each category (i.e. primary, secondary, peripheral) on provincial boundaries. Lastly, we used a parsimony redundancy analysis to determine the roles of historical (i.e. major river basin) and contemporary environmental factors in shaping provinces. Analysis of the nested data sets revealed lessening provincial structure with inclusion of more families. There were 10 primary freshwater provinces, 9 continental freshwater provinces and 7 all freshwater provinces. Major basin occupancy, but not contemporary environmental factors, explained substantial variance in faunal similarities among provinces. However, provincial boundaries did not conform strictly to modern river basins, but reflected river-drainage connections of the Quaternary. Provinces represent broad-scale patterns of endemism and provide a starting point for future studies. Relative malleability of province boundaries in the continental interior highlights this region as biogeographically diverse and dynamic. Interior-core provinces of this region (Central Gulf Coastal Plains, Northern Interior) have not been recognized previously and warrant further study.

Publication Title

Biological Reviews

Volume

91

Issue

3

First Page

813

Last Page

832

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