Fish diversity in relation to landscape and vegetation in central Western Ghats, India

Results and discussion

1. Rainfall and stream     hydrology 2. Land-use analysis 3. Ichthyodiversity : richness,     endemism, threat status and     distribution 4. Stream fishes and     catchment vegetation 5. Relationship between fish     species richness and their     ecological status 6. Influence of landscape     variables on fish species     richness and their ecological     status


Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6

Sreekantha, M. D. Subash Chandran, D. K. Mesta, G. R. Rao, K. V. Gururaja and T. V. Ramachandra*
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India
* For correspondence. (e-mail:

The Western Ghats, one of the well-known biodiversity hotspots of the world, harbours 289 species of freshwater fish of which 119 are endemic. The ecosystems in this region have been, over the past 150 years or so, experiencing tumultuous changes due to the everincreasing human impacts. In this regard, a study was conducted in Sharavathi River, central Western Ghats to understand fish species composition with respect to landscape dynamics. The study, using a combination of remote-sensing data as well as field investigations shows that the streams having their catchments with high levels of evergreenness and endemic tree species of the Western Ghats were also richer in fish diversity and endemism, compared to those catchments with other kinds of vegetation. This illustrates that the composition and distribution of fish species have a strong association with the kind of terrestrial landscape elements and the importance of landscape approach to conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems. Occurrence of endangered, endemic species and the discovery of two new species of genus Schistura reaffirm the ‘hottest hotspot’ status of the Western Ghats, a repository of biological wealth of a rare kind, both in its aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Keywords : Endemism, fish fauna, land-use, landscape elements, Sharavathi River basin, vegetation, Western Ghats.

CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 92, NO. 11, 10 JUNE 2007
E-mail | Sahyadri | ENVIS | Energy | GRASS | CES | IISc | E-mail