Predicting the range of a regionally threatened, benthic fish using species distribution models and field surveys

Joshua L. Sherwood, Andrew J. Stites, Michael J. Dreslik, Jeremy S. Tiemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding a species' historical and current distribution is critical when making conservation and management decisions. Recent observations in headwater streams of northern Illinois, USA, where no previous records of Iowa Darters Etheostoma exile occurred, revealed the need to re-evaluate its state-wide distribution. We conducted a series of species distribution modelling procedures coupled with targeted field surveys to generate historical and contemporary distribution models. The historical distribution model indicated E. exile distributions were concentrated across extreme northern Illinois. Both contemporary models included results of the historical model as a model variable. Based on the initial contemporary model, 30 potential Iowa Darter sites, 10 each of three groups representing low, medium and high model scores, were sampled during the summer of 2016. Field surveys provided nine new E. exile localities and presence–absence data from field surveys were then applied to revise the contemporary model. The revised contemporary model suggests a decrease in certain areas of its historic Illinois range, as well as areas where it has potentially expanded its range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-977
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Etheostoma
  • Illinois
  • distribution model
  • stream
  • threatened

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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