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Phosphorus flux due to Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in an oligotrophic upland stream: effects of management and demography

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Abstract:

Little is known concerning the role of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the transport of nutrients to and from river systems. We used demographic data from the River Bran, an oligotrophic river in Scotland, UK, to construct a budget for the transport of phosphorus (P) and applied it to investigate the effects of management strategies and demographic rates on potential transport. At present, because few adults return to their spawning grounds, salmon export 0.2–0.5 kg P·year–1. In contrast, increasing passage rates to a level sufficient to maintain a population without stocking would likely result in a gain of up to several kilograms per year. However, this effect depended on the retention of adult-derived P, which varies across systems and is poorly known at present. Egg-derived P exceeded that from adults at low (<25%) retention rates but was insufficient on its own to balance losses. Increased marine survival rates also increased the potential for positive P flux, while reduction in egg–smolt survival reduced the magnitude of transport. These results indicate the importance of considering within-river movements of individuals and nutrients and the need to fill critical data gaps in assessing the role of Atlantic salmon in nutrient transport.

On connaît mal le rôle du saumon atlantique (Salmo salar) dans l'importation et l'exportation de nutriments dans les rivières. Des données démographiques dans la Bran, une rivière oligotrophe d'Écosse, nous ont servi à construire un bilan du transport du phosphore (P) que nous avons utilisé pour évaluer les effets des stratégies d'aménagement et des taux démographiques sur le transport potentiel. À l'heure actuelle, parce que peu de saumons retournent à leur site de fraye, les saumons exportent 0,2–0,5 kg P·an–1. En revanche, l'augmentation des taux de passage à un niveau suffisant pour maintenir la population sans empoisonnement entraînerait vraisemblablement un gain pouvant atteindre plusieurs kilogrammes par année. Cependant, un tel effet suppose la rétention du P dérivé des adultes, un phénomène qui varie d'un système à l'autre et qui est actuellement mal connu. Le P dérivé des oeufs est plus important que celui dérivé des adultes aux taux faibles (<25 %) de rétention, mais ne suffit pas seul à compenser les pertes. Une augmentation des taux de survie en mer accroît la probabilité d'un flux positif de P, alors que la réduction de la survie de l'oeuf jusqu'au stade saumoneau diminue l'importance du transport. Nos résultats démontrent l'importance de tenir compte des déplacements des individus et des nutriments au sein du cours d'eau et soulignent la nécessité d'obtenir les données critiques manquantes nécessaires afin d'évaluer le rôle du saumon atlantique dans le transport des nutriments.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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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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