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Performance of juvenile brown trout exposed to fluctuating water level and temperature

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Individual daily food intake, mass‐specific growth rate and growth efficiency in groups of juvenile brown trout Salmo trutta were compared in tank experiments with three water level regimes (fluctuating, stable high and low water levels) and two temperature regimes (fluctuating between 10 and 14° C and constant 14° C) to simulate events during hydropeaking in regulated rivers. Fish exposed to high stable water level showed higher food intake and growth rate, and higher or similar growth efficiency than fish exposed to fluctuating or stable low water level. Both groups of slow‐growing and fast‐growing individuals fed less and grew slower at stable low and fluctuating water level than at stable high water level. Furthermore, growth and growth efficiency were lower in brown trout exposed to stable low water level and fluctuating temperature, particularly for groups of fish with slow growth. Temperature did not have any effect at high water level. For groups of fast‐growing fish, there was no difference in growth efficiency between treatments. It is concluded that fluctuating water level and temperature have a potentially detrimental effect on growth in juvenile brown trout and effects are more severe in slow‐ than fast‐growing fish.
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Keywords: Salmo trutta; caesium‐133; energetics; feeding; growth rate; hydropower

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: University of Oslo, Department of Biology, P. O. Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway and 2: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tungasletta 2, N-7485 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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