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Thermal heterogeneity, stream channel morphology, and salmonid abundance in northeastern Oregon streams

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Heterogeneity in stream water temperatures created by local influx of cooler subsurface waters into geomorphically complex stream channels was associated with increased abundance of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in northeastern Oregon. The addition of cold water patch frequency and area as explanatory variables in salmonid habitat models indicated that doubling of cold water patch frequency was associated with increases in rainbow trout and chinook salmon abundances of 31% and 59%, respectively. Doubling of cold water patch area was associated with changes of 10% in rainbow trout abundance but was not associated with chinook abundance after accounting for other habitat factors. The physiognomy, distribution, and connectivity of cold water patches, important attributes determining the effectiveness of these habitats as thermal refuges for stream fishes, were associated with channel bedform and riparian features. Monitoring of thermal heterogeneity and salmonid populations in response to ongoing habitat restoration efforts will provide additional insights into causal relationships among these factors.

L'hétérogénéité des températures de l'eau dans les cours d'eau causée par les influx locaux d'eau souterraine plus fraîche dans des chenaux à géomorphologie complexe s'accompagne d'une abondance accrue de truites arc-en-ciel (Oncorhynchus mykiss) et de saumons quinnat (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) dans le nord-est de l'Oregon. L'addition de la fréquence et de la surface des taches d'eau froide comme variables explicatives dans les modèles d'habitat des salmonidés montre qu'un dédoublement de la fréquence des taches d'eau froide entraîne des augmentations d'abondance chez la truite arc-en-ciel et le saumon quinnat, respectivement de 31 % et de 59 %. Un dédoublement de la surface des taches d'eau froide est associé à un accroissement de l'abondance de 10 % chez la truite arc-en-ciel, mais il n'est pas relié à l'abondance des saumons quinnat, lorsque les autres facteurs de l'habitat sont pris en compte. La physionomie, la répartition et la connectivité des taches d'eau froide, caractéristiques importantes qui déterminent l'efficacité de ces habitats comme refuges thermiques pour les poissons d'eau courante, sont associées à la forme du lit du chenal et aux caractéristiques de la berge. La surveillance de l'hétérogénéité thermique et des populations de salmonidés en réponse aux efforts de restauration permettra de mieux comprendre les relations causales entre ces facteurs.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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