The importance of measuring biotic and abiotic factors in the lower egg pocket to predict coho salmon egg survival
Based on results from simulated redds of coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch, the amount of fine sediment <0·5 mm in the lower half of the egg pocket, rather than the entire egg pocket of the redd, was a strong predictor of egg survival to hatching ( r2 = 0·62). The relationship was much stronger than observed in other studies, which typically ignore egg pocket structure. Abundance of a fish egg-eating worm, Haplotaxis ichthyophagous, an oligochaete that may have been attracted to fine sediment and dead eggs in the egg pocket, was also associated with a decrease in egg survival. The worm, however, accounted for little of the variance in survival compared to fine sediment. Only 10% fine sediment (<0·5 mm) in the lower pocket was required to decrease survival from 100 to 5%. Other abiotic factors had weaker (gravel permeability) or non-existent (dissolved oxygen) correlations with survival.
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