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File application/x-troff-ms Evaluating the Trade-Offs between Invasion and Isolation for Native Brook Trout and Nonnative Brown Trout in Pennsylvania Streams
A popular conservation strategy for native trout species in western North America is to prevent invasions by nonnative trout by installing barriers that isolate native trout populations into headwater streams. In eastern North America, native Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis are frequently replaced in coolwater habitats by nonnative Brown Trout Salmo trutta and relegated to small headwater streams. In this study, we compared the effects of isolation and invasion by nonnative Brown Trout on the distribution and demographic structure of Brook Trout populations from 78 trout streams in northwestern Pennsylvania. The Brook Trout and Brown Trout distributions varied in predictable ways along the stream size gradient, with Brown Trout becoming dominant in larger streams. However, there was a prominent barrier effect, with streams 12 times more likely to have Brook Trout than Brown Trout when a downstream barrier was present between the sample site and the nearest Brown Trout stocking location. In comparison, 91% of the streams with Brown Trout had no downstream barrier, suggesting that barriers are important in creating refugia for Brook Trout. Brown Trout also appeared to have a negative impact on Brook Trout population demographics, as Brook Trout populations in sympatry with Brown Trout had fewer age-classes and lower population densities than allopatric Brook Trout populations. Isolating Brook Trout to small headwater streams with downstream barriers that prevent Brown Trout invasion could be a viable conservation strategy in regions where barriers would serve to reduce the negative impacts from Brown Trout. Since barriers could further fragment local Brook Trout populations, however, they would need to be strategically placed to allow for seasonal movements to maintain metapopulation structure and ensure population persistence.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Probabilistic measures of climate change vulnerability, adaptation action benefits, and related uncertainty from maximum temperature metric selection
Predictions of the projected changes in species distribution models and potential adaptation action benefits can help guide conservation actions. There is substantial uncertainty in projecting species distributions into an unknown future, however, which can undermine confidence in predictions or misdirect conservation actions if not properly considered. Recent studies have shown that the selection of alternative climate metrics describing very different climatic aspects (e.g., mean air temperature vs. mean precipitation) can be a substantial source of projection uncertainty. It is unclear, however, how much projection uncertainty might stem from selecting among highly correlated, ecologically similar climate metrics (e.g., maximum temperature in July, maximum 30-day temperature) describing the same climatic aspect (e.g., maximum temperatures) that is known to limit a species’ distribution. It is also unclear how projection uncertainty might propagate into predictions of the potential benefits of adaptation actions that might lessen climate change effects. We provide probabilistic measures of climate change vulnerability, adaptation action benefits, and related uncertainty stemming from the selection of four maximum temperature metrics for brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), a cold-water salmonid of conservation concern in the eastern U.S. Projected losses in suitable stream length varied by as much as 20% among alternative maximum temperature metrics for mid-century climate projections, which was similar to variation among three climate models. Similarly, the regional average predicted increase in brook trout occurrence probability under an adaptation action scenario of full riparian forest restoration varied by as much as 0.2 among metrics. Our use of Bayesian inference provides probabilistic measures of vulnerability and adaptation action benefits for individual stream reaches that properly address statistical uncertainty and can help guide conservation actions. Our study demonstrates that even relatively small differences in the definitions of climate metrics can result in very different projections and reveal high uncertainty in predicted climate change effects.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File text/texmacs Movement Patterns of Brook Trout in a Restored Coastal Stream System in Southern Massachusetts
Populations of anadromous brook trout can be found from northern Canada into New England. It is believed that the extent of anadromy exhibited by coastal brook trout populations decreases with latitude, but the ecology and movements of the more southern populations are less studied. A 33-month acoustic telemetry study of anadromous brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) was conducted in a restored coastal stream and adjacent marine system in southeastern Massachusetts. Movement and migration patterns of 54 brook trout were investigated for individual differences and common features. Individuals exhibited a range of movement patterns. Some were more resident and only moved short distances, while others moved great distances covering the entire stretch of the stream (7.25 km) and moving into the marine environment. General Additive Mixed Models revealed that date was the major influence on brook trout movement between habitats and predicted peaks in movement in the spring and fall. Downstream movement peaked in the spring and in the fall, suggesting post-spawning feeding migration. Fish transitioned between habitats more often at new and full moons and when stream temperature was between 8 and 12 °C. Upstream transitions peaked as temperatures declined in winter 2011. Fifty percent of tagged brook trout were detected in the estuary during the study, suggesting that it is an important habitat for the population. In summer 2012, 14 tagged brook trout (20% of active tags) resided near one receiver at the head of the tide, which contained a thermal refugium in the form of a cold-water spring seep. Of the 84 tagged brook trout, 9.5% moved to the marine environment. Warm temperatures in saline Buttermilk Bay in the summer and cold temperatures in winter probably discourage some individuals from entering the marine environment. Compared to more northern coastal populations of brook trout, the Red Brook population appears to be less anadromous.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Conservation Genetics of Remnant Coastal Brook Trout Populations at the Southern Limit of Their Distribution: Population Structure and Effects of Stocking
We examined genetic variation within and among a group of remnant coastal brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis populations along the coast of the northeastern United States. These populations occur at the southern limits of anadromy for this species and could form the foundation of a restored anadromous metapopulation. We also tested for genetic introgression between these populations and the hatchery source that has been used to stock these sites. The overall FST for the natural populations at 12 microsatellite loci was 0.145 (95% confidence interval, 0.108–0.183), and D was 0.225 (0.208–0.243). On average, 94.6% of individuals were correctly assigned to the population where they were collected. Our results suggest that there is little gene flow even between geographically proximate populations. We found little evidence that repeated historic stocking from a known hatchery source has led to genetic introgression into these wild coastal brook trout populations. One hybrid individual appeared to be a backcross between an F1 and a hatchery individual. Another hybrid individual could not be classified. Our results suggest that nonintrogressed and potentially locally adapted populations of brook trout persist in several small coastal New England streams. These populations should be the focus of future efforts to restore anadromous brook trout in this region.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File chemical/x-pdb Quantifying the effect of semi-natural riparian cover on stream temperatures: implications for salmonid habitat management
Previous studies examining the effects of riparian cover on stream temperatures have led to highly variable findings. In an attempt to reduce these uncertainties, this study examines the relationship between stream temperature variability and local climatic conditions over discrete 300-m sections of a watercourse. Seventeen stream sections were chosen within the Slaney catchment on the basis of riparian cover and size. Continuous monitoring over a 2-year period from May 2010 found that riparian cover had a measurable cooling effect on water temperatures at small spatial scales. The magnitude of this effect was dependent on stream size and local climactic conditions.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Understanding environmental DNA detection probabilities: A case study using a stream-dwelling char Salvelinus fontinalis
Environmental DNA sampling (eDNA) has emerged as a powerful tool for detecting aquatic animals. Previous research suggests that eDNA methods are substantially more sensitive than traditional sampling. However, the factors influencing eDNA detection and the resulting sampling costs are still not well understood. Here we use multiple experiments to derive independent estimates of eDNA production rates and downstream persistence from brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in streams. We use these estimates to parameterize models comparing the false negative detection rates of eDNA sampling and traditional backpack electrofishing. We find that using the protocols in this study eDNA had reasonable detection probabilities at extremely low animal densities (e.g., probability of detection 0.18 at densities of one fish per stream kilometer) and very high detection probabilities at population-level densities (e.g., probability of detection N0.99 at densities of ≥3 fish per 100 m). This is substantially more sensitive than traditional electrofishing for determining the presence of brook trout and may translate into important cost savings when animals are rare. Our findings are consistent with a growing body of literature showing that eDNA sampling is a powerful tool for the detection of aquatic species, particularly those that are rare and difficult to sample using traditional methods.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Sensitivity and Vulnerability of Brook Trout Populations to Climate Change
Predicting future brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis distributions at the population scale under various climate scenarios is of interest to the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. Previous larger scale models have been useful in highlighting the potential threat; however, the predicted air and water temperature errors associated with these models makes predictions of the persistence of individual brook trout populations problematic. We directly measured paired air and water temperatures in watersheds (N = 77) containing reproducing populations of brook trout in Virginia. We found that paired air and water temperature relationships are highly variable among patches but are a useful dataset to classify sensitivity and vulnerability of existing brook trout patches. We developed a classification system using sensitivity and vulnerability metrics that classified sampled brook trout habitats into four categories (High Sensitivity- High Vulnerability (51.9% ); High Sensitivity-Low Vulnerability (10.4 % ); Low Sensitivity-High Vulnerability (7.8 % ); Low Sensitivity-Low Vulnerability (29.9 % ). Our direct measurement approach identified potential refugia for brook trout at lower elevations and with higher air temperatures than previous larger scale modeling efforts. Our sensitivity and vulnerability groupings should be useful for managers making investment decisions in protecting and restoring brook trout.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications / Brook Trout Related Climate Change Vulnerability Research
File Troff document Fall and Early Winter Movement and Habitat Use of Wild Brook Trout
Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis populations face a myriad of threats throughout the species’ native range in the eastern United States. Understanding wild Brook Trout movement patterns and habitat requirements is essential for conserving existing populations and for restoring habitats that no longer support self-sustaining populations. To address uncertainties related to wild Brook Trout movements and habitat use, we radio-tracked 36 fish in a headwater stream system in central Pennsylvania during the fall and early winter of 2010–2011.We used generalized additive mixed models and discrete choice models with random effects to evaluate seasonal movement and habitat use, respectively. There was variability among fish in movement patterns; however, most of the movement was associated with the onset of the spawning season and was positively correlated with fish size and stream flow. There was heterogeneity among fish in selection of intermediate (0.26–0.44 m deep) and deep (0.44–1.06 m deep) residual pools, while all Brook Trout showed similar selection for shallow (0.10–0.26 m) residual pools. There was selection for shallow residual pools during the spawning season, followed by selection for deep residual pools as winter approached. Brook Trout demonstrated a threshold effect for habitat selection with respect to pool length, and selection for pools increased as average pool length increased up to approximately 30 m, and then use declined rapidly for pool habitats greater than 30 m in length. The heterogeneity and nonlinear dynamics of movement and habitat use of wild Brook Trout observed in this study underscores two important points: (1) linear models may not always provide an accurate description of movement and habitat use, which can have implications for management, and (2) maintaining stream connectivity and habitat heterogeneity is important when managing self-sustaining Brook Trout populations.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications
File Sampling strategies for estimating brook trout effective population size
The influence of sampling strategy on estimates of effective population size (Ne) from single-sample genetic methods has not been rigorously examined, though these methods are increasingly used. For headwater salmonids, spatially close kin association among age-0 individuals suggests that sampling strategy (number of individuals and location from which they are collected) will influence estimates of Ne through family representation effects. We collected age-0 brook trout by completely sampling three headwater habitat patches, and used microsatellite data and empirically parameterized simulations to test the effects of different combinations of sample size (S = 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, or 200) and number of equally-spaced sample starting locations (SL = 1, 2, 3, 4, or random) on estimates of mean family size and effective number of breeders (Nb). Both S and SL had a strong influence on estimates of mean family size and ^ Nb; however the strength of the effects varied among habitat patches that varied in family spatial distributions. The sampling strategy that resulted in an optimal balance between precise estimates of Nb and sampling effort regardless of family structure occurred with S = 75 and SL = 3. This strategy limited bias by ensuring samples contained individuals from a high proportion of available families while providing a large enough sample size for precise estimates. Because this sampling effort performed well for populations that vary in family structure, it should provide a generally applicable approach for genetic monitoring of iteroparous headwater stream fishes that have overlapping generations.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications / Stream Assessment and Monitoring
File Response of fish assemblages to declining acidic deposition in Adirondack Mountain lakes, 1984-2012
Adverse effects of acidic deposition on the chemistry and fish communities were evident in Adirondack Mountain lakes during the 1980s and 1990s. Fish assemblages and water chemistry in 43 Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring (ALTM) lakes were sampled by the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation during three periods (1984-87, 1994-2005, and 2008-12) to document regional impacts and potential biological recovery associated with the 1990 amendments to the 1963 Clean Air Act (CAA). We assessed standardized data from 43 lakes sampled during the three periods to quantify the response of fish-community richness, total fish abundance, and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) abundance to declining acidity that resulted from changes in U.S. airquality management between 1984 and 2012. During the 28-year period, mean acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) increased significantly from 3 to 30 meq/L and mean inorganic monomeric Al concentrations decreased significantly from 2.22 to 0.66 mmol/L, yet mean species richness, all species or total catch per net night (CPNN), and brook trout CPNN did not change significantly in the 43 lakes. Regression analyses indicate that fishery metrics were not directly related to the degree of chemical recovery and that brook trout CPNN may actually have declined with increasing ANC. While the richness of fish communities increased with increasing ANC as anticipated in several Adirondack lakes, observed improvements in water quality associated with the CAA have generally failed to produce detectable shifts in fish assemblages within a large number of ALTM lakes. Additional time may simply be needed for biological recovery to progress, or else more proactive efforts may be necessary to restore natural fish assemblages in Adirondack lakes in which water chemistry is steadily recovering from acidification.
Located in Resources / Brook Trout Related Publications