We quantified the stability of nine stream fish assemblages by calculating coefficients of variation of population size for assemblage members. Coefficients of variation were high and averaged over 96%; indicating that most assemblages were quite variable. The high variability exhibited by many stream fish assemblages suggests that it may be difficult to detect the effects of anthropogenic disturbances using population data alone. Consequently, we urge managers to exercise caution in the evaluation of the effects of these disturbances. We suggest that CVs are a better estimator of population/assemblage stability, than either Kendall's W or the standard deviation of the logarithms of numerical censuses.
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