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File Dynamics and regulation of the southern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) population in an Appalachian stream
1. We used information theoretic statistics [Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC)] and regression analysis in a multiple hypothesis testing approach to assess the processes capable of explaining long-term demographic variation in a lightly exploited brook trout population in Ball Creek, NC. We sampled a 100-m-long second-order site during both spring and autumn 1991–2004, using three-pass electrofishing. 2. Principle component analysis indicated that the site had lower average velocity, greater amounts of depositional substrata and lower amount of erosional substrata during the 1999–2002 drought than in non-drought years. In addition, drought years had lower flows, and lower variation in flows, than non-drought years. 3. Both young-of-the-year (YOY) and adult densities varied by an order of magnitude during the study. AIC analysis conducted on regressions of per capita rate of increase versus various population and habitat parameters for the population, adults and YOY, for both spring and autumn data sets, indicated that simple density dependence almost always was the only interpretable model with Akaike weights (wi) ranging from 0.262 to 0.836. 4. Growth analyses yielded more variable results, with simple density dependence being the only interpretable model for both adult spring data (wi = 0.999) and YOY autumn data (wi = 0.905), and positive density dependence (wi = 0.636) and simple density independence (wi = 0.241) representing interpretable models for spring YOY data. 5. We detected a significant stock–recruitment relationship between both spring and autumn densities of adults in year t and autumn YOY density in year t + 1. Finally, spring YOY density was positively correlated with both autumn YOY density and spring mean YOY standard length (SL), suggesting that processes affecting recruitment show residual effects at least in the first year of life. This population appears to be regulated primarily by density dependent processes, although high flows also negatively affected mean SLs of YOY.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Population regulation of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Hunt Creek, Michigan: a 50-year study
1. Fisheries models generally are based on the concept that strong density dependence exists in fish populations. Nonetheless, there are few examples of long-term density dependence in fish populations. 2. Using an information theoretical approach (AIC) with regression analyses, we examined the explanatory power of density dependence, flow and water temperature on the per capita rate of change and growth (annual mean total length) for the whole population, adults, 1+ and young-of-the-year (YOY) brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Hunt Creek, Michigan, USA, between 1951 and 2001. This time series represents one of the longest quantitative population data sets for fishes. 3. Our analysis included four data sets: (i) Pooled (1951–2001), (ii) Fished (1951–65), (iii) Unfished (1966–2001) and (iv) Temperature (1982–2001). 4. Principle component analyses of winter flow data identified a gradient between years with high mean daily winter flows, high daily maximum and minimum flows and frequent high flow events, and years with an opposite set of flow characteristics. Flows were lower during the Fished Period than during the Unfished Period. Winter temperature analyses elucidated a gradient between warm mean, warm minimum and maximum daily stream temperatures and a high number of minimum daily temperatures >6.1 C, and years with the opposite characteristics. Summer temperature analyses contrasted years with warm summer stream temperatures vs years with cool summer stream temperatures. 5. Both YOY and adult densities varied several-fold during the study. Regression analysis did not detect a significant linear or nonlinear stock–recruitment relationship. AIC analysis indicated that density dependence was present in 15 of 16 cases (four population segments · four data sets) for both per capita rate of increase (wi values 0.46–1.00) and growth data (wi values 0.28–0.99). The almost ubiquitous presence of density dependence in both population and growth data is concordant with results from other trout populations and other studies in Michigan.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Population Response to Habitat Fragmentation in a Stream-Dwelling Brook Trout Population
Fragmentation can strongly influence population persistence and expression of life-history strategies in spatially-structured populations. In this study, we directly estimated size-specific dispersal, growth, and survival of stream-dwelling brook trout in a stream network with connected and naturally-isolated tributaries. We used multiple-generation, individual-based data to develop and parameterize a size-class and location-based population projection model, allowing us to test effects of fragmentation on population dynamics at local (i.e., subpopulation) and system-wide (i.e., metapopulation) scales, and to identify demographic rates which influence the persistence of isolated and fragmented populations. In the naturally-isolated tributary, persistence was associated with higher early juvenile survival (,45% greater), shorter generation time (one-half) and strong selection against large body size compared to the open system, resulting in a stage-distribution skewed towards younger, smaller fish. Simulating barriers to upstream migration into two currently-connected tributary populations caused rapid (2–6 generations) local extinction. These local extinctions in turn increased the likelihood of system-wide extinction, as tributaries could no longer function as population sources. Extinction could be prevented in the open system if sufficient immigrants from downstream areas were available, but the influx of individuals necessary to counteract fragmentation effects was high (7–46% of the total population annually). In the absence of sufficient immigration, a demographic change (higher early survival characteristic of the isolated tributary) was also sufficient to rescue the population from fragmentation, suggesting that the observed differences in size distributions between the naturally-isolated and open system may reflect an evolutionary response to isolation. Combined with strong genetic divergence between the isolated tributary and open system, these results suggest that local adaptation can ‘rescue’ isolated populations, particularly in one-dimensional stream networks where both natural and anthropogenically-mediated isolation is common. However, whether rescue will occur before extinction depends critically on the race between adaptation and reduced survival in response to fragmentation.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Broad-Scale Patterns of Brook Trout Responses to Introduced Brown Trout in New York
Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis and Brown Trout Salmo trutta are valuable sport fish that coexist in many parts of the world due to stocking introductions. Causes for the decline of Brook Trout within their native range are not clear but include competition with Brown Trout, habitat alteration, and repetitive stocking practices. New York State contains a large portion of the Brook Trout’s native range, where both species are maintained by stocking and other management actions.We used artificial neural network models, regression, principal components analysis, and simulation to evaluate the effects of Brown Trout, environmental conditions, and stocking on the distribution of Brook Trout in the center of their native range. We found evidence for the decline of Brook Trout in the presence of Brown Trout across many watersheds; 22% of sampled reaches where both species were expected to occur contained only Brown Trout. However, a model of the direct relationship between Brook Trout and Brown Trout abundance explained less than 1% of data variation. Ordination showed extensive overlap of Brook Trout and Brown Trout habitat conditions, with only small components of the hypervolume (multidimensional space) being distinctive. Subsequent analysis indicated higher abundances of Brook Trout in highly forested areas, while Brown Trout were more abundant in areas with relatively high proportions of agriculture. Simulation results indicated that direct interactions and habitat conditions were relatively minor factors compared with the effects of repeated stocking of Brown Trout into Brook Trout habitat. Intensive annual stocking of Brown Trout could eliminate resident Brook Trout in less than a decade. Ecological differences, harvest behavior, and other habitat changes can exacerbate Brook Trout losses. Custom stocking scenarios with Brown Trout introductions at relatively low proportions of resident Brook Trout populations may be able to sustain healthy populations of both species within their present range.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File application/x-troff-ms What predicts the use by brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) of terrestrial invertebrate subsidies in headwater streams?
1. Spatial subsidies are important resources for organisms in receiving habitats, particularly when production in those habitats is low. Terrestrial invertebrates provide a critical subsidy for trout, including eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), but we have limited understanding of what causes input and use of these subsidies to vary among streams. 2. We predicted that forest successional stage would be an especially important driver of variation in terrestrial invertebrate subsidies to brook trout in headwater streams due to differences in terrestrial invertebrate biomass in early and late successional habitats. Specifically, we expected biomass of aerial invertebrates, those capable of dispersal to the stream, to be greater in early successional habitat than late successional habitat due to the nutrient-rich, herbaceous vegetation typical of early successional habitat. 3. We measured aerial terrestrial invertebrate biomass in early and late successional habitats, input to streams and use by resident brook trout in 12 first- and second-order catchments in northern New Hampshire, U.S.A. The study catchments represented a range of early successional habitat coverage (0–51.5%). We also measured a suite of reach-scale variables that might influence terrestrial invertebrate input and use by brook trout, including riparian forest conditions and benthic invertebrate biomass. 4. Within study catchments, aerial terrestrial invertebrate biomass and abundance were significantly higher in early successional habitats than late successional habitats. However, terrestrial invertebrate input to streams and use by brook trout were unrelated to per cent early successional habitat in the catchment, and to other catchment and riparian forest characteristics. These results indicate that the management for upland early successional habitat has little effect on terrestrial invertebrate subsidies to headwater streams and fish. 5. Surprisingly, benthic invertebrate biomass was the one significant predictor of per cent terrestrial invertebrates in brook trout diets. Use of terrestrial invertebrate subsidies declined with increasing benthic invertebrate biomass, suggesting that productivity in the aquatic environment influences the degree to which brook trout use terrestrial subsidies. Although subsidy inputs are controlled by the donor system, this study shows that use of these subsidies by consumers can be determined by conditions in the recipient habitat.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Efficacy of Environmental DNA to Detect and Quantify Brook Trout Populations in Headwater Streams of the Adirondack Mountains, New York
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is rapidly evolving as a tool for monitoring the distributions of aquatic species. Detection of species’ populations in streams may be challenging because the persistence time for intact DNA fragments is unknown and because eDNA is diluted and dispersed by dynamic hydrological processes. During 2015, the DNA of Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis was analyzed from water samples collected at 40 streams across the Adirondack region of upstate New York, where Brook Trout populations were recently quantified. Study objectives were to evaluate different sampling methods and the ability of eDNA to accurately predict the presence and abundance of resident Brook Trout populations. Results from three-pass electrofishing surveys indicated that Brook Trout were absent from 10 sites and were present in low (<100 fish/0.1 ha), moderate (100–300 fish/0.1 ha), and high (>300 fish/0.1 ha) densities at 9, 11, and 10 sites, respectively. The eDNA results correctly predicted the presence and confirmed the absence of Brook Trout at 85.0–92.5% of the study sites; eDNA also explained 44% of the variability in Brook Trout population density and 24% of the variability in biomass. These findings indicate that eDNA surveys will enable researchers to effectively characterize the presence and abundance of Brook Trout and other species’ populations in headwater streams across the Adirondack region and elsewhere.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File text/texmacs Evaluating the Barrier Assessment Technique Derived from FishXing Software and the Upstream Movement of Brook Trout through Road Culverts
Anthropogenic barriers to fish passage, such as culverts and dams, are major factors impeding the persistence and recovery of aquatic species. Considerable work has focused on mitigating these impacts; however, activities associated with measuring and restoring connectivity of aquatic ecosystems often face challenges in determining the passability of barriers by aquatic species. Hydrological modeling software that incorporates biological aspects of a focal species is often used as a relatively inexpensive method for assessing barrier passability for restoration decisions. However, the biological relevance of these approaches remains to be rigorously tested. We assessed passage rates of PIT-tagged Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis through four road culverts and adjacent reference sites (unaltered areas of the streams) on the island of Newfoundland to determine whether upstream passage through road culverts was more restrictive than unaltered reference areas of the stream. Next, we examined the usefulness of barrier passability predictions derived from FishXing software by comparing them with in situ movement data for this species. Brook Trout passage for three of the four reference sites had a significantly higher range of passable stream flows compared with that for culverts, indicating the presence of velocity barriers in culverts. However, FishXing predictions of suitable fish passage discharges were conservative, and tagged fish successfully navigated partial barriers that were at least 2–3 times the upper limits of stream flow predicted to allow successful passage. The results of our study show a clear need for an improved understanding of fish movement through these structures so that barrier assessment techniques can be refined. The implications of not doing so may lead to restoration actions that result in limited biological benefit.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File application/x-troff-ms Evaluation of Catch-and-Release Regulations on Brook Trout in Pennsylvania Streams
In 2004, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission implemented catch-and-release (CR) regulations on headwater stream systems to determine if eliminating angler harvest would result in an increase in the number of adult (≥100 mm) or large (≥175 mm) Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis. Under the CR regulations, angling was permitted on a year-round basis, no Brook Trout could be harvested at any time, and there were no tackle restrictions. A before-after–control-impact design was used to evaluate the experimental regulations. Brook Trout populations were monitored in 16 treatment (CR regulations) and 7 control streams (statewide regulations) using backpack electrofishing gear periodically for up to 15 years (from 1990 to 2003 or 2004) before the implementation of the CR regulations and over a 7–8-year period (from 2004 or 2005 to 2011) after implementation. We used Poisson mixed models to evaluate whether electrofishing catch per effort (CPE; catch/100 m2) of adult (≥100 mm) or large (≥175 mm) Brook Trout increased in treatment streams as a result of implementing CR regulations. Brook Trout CPE varied among sites and among years, and there was no significant effect (increase or decrease) of CR regulations on the CPE of adult or large Brook Trout. Results of our evaluation suggest that CR regulations were not effective at improving the CPE of adult or large Brook Trout in Pennsylvania streams. Low angler use, high voluntary catch and release, and slow growth rates in infertile headwater streams are likely the primary reasons for the lack of response.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Troff document Geomorphic, Flood, and Groundwater-Flow Characteristics of Bayfield Peninsula Streams, Wisconsin, and Implications for Brook-Trout Habitat
In 2002–03, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study of the geomorphic, flood, and groundwater-flow characteristics of five Bayfield Peninsula streams, Wisconsin (Cranberry River, Bark River, Raspberry River, Sioux River, and Whittlesey Creek) to determine the physical limitations for brook-trout habitat. The goals of the study were threefold: (1) to describe geomorphic characteristics and processes, (2) to determine how land-cover characteristics affect flood peaks, and (3) to determine how regional groundwater flow patterns affect base flow. The geomorphic characterization consisted of analyses of historical aerial photographs and General Land Office Survey notes, observations from helicopter video footage, surveys of valley cross sections, and coring. Sources of sediment were identified from the helicopter video and field surveys, and past erosion-control techniques were evaluated. Geomorphic processes, such as runoff sediment erosion, transport, and deposition, are driven by channel location within the drainage network, texture of glacial deposits, and proximity to postglacial lake shorelines; these processes have historically increased because of decreases in upland forest cover and channel roughness. Sources of sediment for all studied streams mainly came from bank, terrace, or bluff erosion along main stem reaches and along feeder tributaries that bisect main-stem entrenched valley sides. Bluff, terrace, and bank erosion were the major sources of sediment to Whittlesey Creek and the Sioux River. No active bluff erosion was observed on the Cranberry River or the Bark River but anecdotal information suggests that landslides occasionally happen on the Cranberry River. For the Bark River, sources of sediment were somewhat evenly divided among road crossings (bridges, culverts, and unimproved forest lanes), terrace erosion, bank erosion, and incision along upper main stems and feeder channels along valley sides. Evaluation of past erosion-control techniques indicated that bluffs were stabilized by a combination of artificial hardening and bioengineering of the bluff base and reducing mass wasting of the tops of the bluffs. Flood hydrographs for the Cranberry River were simulated for four land-cover scenarios—late 20th century (1992–93), presettlement (before 1870), peak agriculture (1928), and developed (25 percent urban). Results were compared to previous simulations of flood peaks for Whittlesey Creek and for North Fish Creek (southern adjacent basin to Whittlesey Creek). Even though most uplands are presently forested, flood peaks simulated for 1992–93 were 1.5 to 2 times larger than presettlement flood peaks. The increased flood peaks caused (1) increased incision along upper main stems and tributaries that bisect entrenched valley sides, (2) bluff and terrace erosion along reaches with entrenched valleys, (3) overbank deposition and bar formation in middle and lower main stems, and (4) aggradation in mouth areas. A base-flow survey was conducted and a groundwater-flow model was developed for the Bayfield Peninsula to delineate groundwater contributing areas. A deep aquifer system, which includes thick deposits of sand and the upper part of the bedrock, is recharged through the permeable sands in the center of the peninsula. Base flow is unevenly distributed among the Bayfield streams and depends on the amount of channel incision and the proximity of the channels to the recharge area and coarse outwash deposits. Groundwater contributing areas for the five streams do not coincide with surface-water-contributing areas. About 89 percent of total recharge to the deep aquifer system discharges to Bayfield streams; the remaining 11 percent directly discharges to Lake Superior. Historical land-cover changes have had negligible effects on groundwater-flow from the deep aquifer system. Available brook-trout habitat is dependent on the locations of groundwater upwellings, the sizes of flood peaks, and sediment loads. Management practices that focus on reducing or slowing runoff from upland areas and increasing channel roughness have potential to reduce flood peaks, erosion, and sedimentation and improve brook-trout habitat in all Bayfield Peninsula streams.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Impacts of Exotic Rainbow Trout on Habitat Use by Native Juvenile Salmonid Species at an Early Invasive Stage
The detrimental impact of introduced Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss on native communities has been well documented around the world. Previous studies have focused on streams where the invasion has been successful and the species is fully established. In eastern Quebec, the invasion of Rainbow Trout is an ongoing process and, for now, there are few established populations. The presence of two native salmonids in these rivers, Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar and Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis, implies a risk of competition for habitat, despite the relatively low density of the Rainbow Trout populations, as all three species are known to use similar resources. In order to evaluate the strength of the interaction between the invading fish and the native species, we sampled nine rivers (five with Rainbow Trout and four free of Rainbow Trout) and characterized the habitat used by the three salmonids at the juvenile stage. River-scale analysis revealed that in invaded rivers, Rainbow Trout were associated with habitats characterized by closer proximity to the shoreline and by increasing shoreline cover. Estimates of habitat niche overlap integrating depth, water velocity, and substrate size revealed that niche overlap between Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon significantly increased in the presence of Rainbow Trout. Furthermore, the two indigenous species preferred full cover in the absence of Rainbow Trout but in the presence of Rainbow Trout, which also preferred full cover, the indigenous species moved to more open habitats. Rainbow Trout showed a high growth rate, despite a size disadvantage at the beginning of the growing season, as compared with Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout. It thus appears that even at an early stage of invasion, when its density is still low, Rainbow Trout significantly impact native salmonids.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications