Freshwater is a basic need for the mankind. Effective biological tools (ecologically based, efficient, rapid and consistently applicable to different ecological regions) are needed to measure the "health" of rivers. Adapting such tools over a broad geographic area requires a detailed understanding of both the patterns of organisms assemblage composition and distribution within and among water bodies under natural conditions, and the nature of the major environmental gradients that cause or explain these patterns. A comprehensive review of the available litterature dealing with the identification of environmental factors structuring riverine fish assemblages under natural conditions permits to identify the most consistent ones.
Biological indices; fish community; environmental parameters; habitat