Validation of a fish habitat model for lakes

Heinz G. Stefan, Midhat Hondzo, John G. Eaton, J. Howard McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Water temperatures and dissolved oxygen concentrations in 27 classes of lakes have been hindcast by simulation models and related to presence of coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater fishes in 3002 Minnesota lakes. A one-dimensional, dynamic water quality model driven by 25 years of daily weather data was used to model water temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles of these lakes. Fish presence data were available for these lakes from the Minnesota Lake Fisheries Data Base. Water temperature and dissolved oxygen criteria derived from a very large United States Environmental Protection Agency fish-temperature database and dissolved oxygen observations were used to define and link simulated water temperatures and dissolved oxygen conditions to suitability of habitats for coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater fish assemblages. Good agreement was found between fish presence and numerical simulations of fish habitat defined by water temperatures and dissolved oxygen concentrations. Generally water temperature and DO are good indicators of suitable fish habitat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, Washington, DC and Environmental Research Laboratory-Duluth, MN for support of this study. D. Schupp (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources), B.E. Goodno and K.E.F. Hokanson (Environmental Research Laboratory-Duluth) provided lake data bases and fish/temperature databases, respectively, without which this work could not have been done. The Minnesota Supercomputer Institute at the University of Minnesota provided a grant to carry out the water quality simulations.


  • Fish
  • Lake ecosystems
  • Model validation
  • Oxygen
  • Temperature


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