The spatially explicit abundance exchange model (AEM) was built for four fish species: winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia), eastern silvery minnow (Hybognathus regius), and striped bass (Morone saxatilis) along the Hudson River estuary gradient, New York. The fish and habitat data during 1974–1997 were used to develop and calibrate the AEM; and the fish data during 1998–2001 was used to validate the model. Preference indexes of fish species for dissolved oxygen, salinity, water temperature, and bottom substrates along the gradient were estimated; and these were used to compute habitat preference (HP) of the associated fish species. The species HP was a key variable in the AEM to quantify abundance and distribution patterns of the associated species along the gradient. The AEM could efficiently predict abundance and distribution patterns of all modeled species except striped bass. The model ability for predicting a local distribution range of a fish species with broad tolerance on changing environment like striped bass should be improved.

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