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Interactions between riparian shading and food supply: a seasonal comparison of effects on time budgets, space use and growth in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

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This study examines seasonal (winter v. summer) differences in space-time budgets, food intake and growth of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar parr in a controlled, large-scale stream environment, to examine the direction and magnitude of shifts in behaviour patterns as influenced by the availability of overhead cover and food supply. Salmo salar parr tested in the presence of overhead cover were significantly more nocturnal and occupied more peripheral positions than those tested in the absence of overhead cover. This increase in nocturnal activity was driven primarily by increased activity at night, accompanied by a reduction in daytime activity during winter. The presence of overhead cover had no effect on rates of food intake or growth for a given food supply in a given season. Growth rates were significantly higher for fish subjected to a high food supply than those subjected to a low food supply. Food supply did not affect the extent to which S. salar parr were nocturnal. These results were consistent between winter and summer. The use of riparian shading as a management technique to mitigate the effects of warming allows the adoption of more risk-averse foraging behaviour and may be particularly beneficial in circumstances where it serves also to increase the availability of food.
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Keywords: climate change; habitat; nocturnal activity; passive integrated transponder; predation; sheltering behaviour

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Marine Scotland Freshwater Laboratory, Faskally, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland PH16 5LB, U.K. 2: Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Biomedical Sciences Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX, U.K.

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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