Effect of water temperature and density of juvenile salmonids on growth of young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
A von Bertalanffy growth model for young-of the-year Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in a small French coastal stream was fitted using water temperatures and densities of juvenile salmonids (S. salar and brown trout Salmo trutta) as covariates influencing daily growth rate. The Bayesian framework was used as a template to integrate prior information from external data sets. The relative influence of the covariates on parr growth was quantified and results showed that growth of S. salar juveniles depended on both water temperatures and densities, but that most of the spatiotemporal variability of growth resulted from local spatiotemporal variations of 0+ age salmonid (S. salar and S. trutta) densities. Further analysis revealed that the fluctuations in young-of-the-year salmonid densities are likely to dominate the effects of potential future warming of water temperature due to climate change. It is concluded that factors that could affect salmonid densities might well have a greater effect on S. salar population dynamics than factors influencing water temperatures.