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Predicting site-specific overwintering of juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta) using a habitat suitability index

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Abstract:

Brown trout (Salmo trutta) site-specific overwintering was studied in an ice-covered stream in northern Sweden. We monitored 238 individually tagged juvenile trout (body length 120–204mm) from late summer until late winter using portable passive integrated transponder tag equipment and related it to a habitat suitability index. Minimum habitat suitability index explained a large portion (66.8%) of the variation in the proportion of individuals that remained and overwintered at specific sites from late summer until late winter. Our study design detected three scales of overwinter movements: (i) individuals that remained within their tagging site (site-scale movements); (ii) individuals that moved to other reaches (reach-scale movements), which were probably the most common; and (iii) individuals that left the study stream (stream-scale movements). There were no differences in size at tagging among individuals that adopted different scales of movements. We suggest that habitat suitability index can be used as a tool to predict site specific residency and, thus, habitat conditions in stream reaches during winter.

Nous avons étudié l’hivernage en fonction des sites chez la truite brune (Salmo trutta) dans un cours d’eau recouvert de glace dans le nord de la Suède. Nous avons suivi, de la fin de l’été jusqu’à la fin de l’hiver, 238 jeunes truites (longueur du corps, 120–204mm) portant chacune une étiquette à l’aide d’un appareillage portatif transpondeur intégré passif et avons relié les données à un indice de convenance d’habitat. L’indice minimal de convenance d’habitat explique une portion importante (66,8%) de la variation de la proportion d’individus qui demeurent et passent l’hiver à des sites particuliers de la fin de l’été à la fin de l’hiver. La conception de notre étude a permis la détection de trois échelles auxquelles se font les déplacements pendant l’hiver: (i)les individus qui demeurent à leur site de marquage (déplacements à l’échelle du site), (ii)les individus qui se déplacent vers d’autres sections du cours d’eau (déplacements à l’échelle de la section) et (iii)les individus qui quittent le cours d’eau étudié (déplacements au niveau du cours d’eau); le deuxième type de déplacement est probablement le plus fréquent. Il n’y a pas de différence de taille au moment du marquage entre les individus qui adoptent les différentes échelles de déplacement. Nous suggérons d’utiliser l’indice de convenance d’habitat comme outil pour prédire la résidence en fonction des sites et ainsi les conditions de l’habitat dans les sections de cours d’eau pendant l’hiver.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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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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