Ecology and decline of a rare western minnow : the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kw52jb353

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  • Once historically widespread throughout the Willamette and Umpqua River drainages, the Willamette Oregon chub is now restricted to scattered populations along 15 miles of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River whereas the Umpqua Oregon chub is still widely distributed. The decline in the Willamette drainage was more severe because changes in the physical and biological habitat were more severe when compared to the Umpqua drainage. The Willamette Oregon chub may be more sensitive to environmental degradations than the Umpqua Oregon chub. The difference in sensitivity to degradation is a result of ecological differences between Willamette and Umpqua Oregon chub. Willamette Oregon chub inhabited areas with primarily very little if any current, fed in the water column, and spawned in aquatic vegetation. Umpqua Oregon chub inhabited areas with primarily slow water velocities, fed on benthic prey, and spawned over gravel substrate. Because Willamette Oregon chub inhabit slackwater habitats they may be more sensitive to water velocity increases and exotic species, whereas Umpqua Oregon chub have a habitat refuge in relatively faster water velocity habitats. Willamette Oregon chub larval stages are described and illustrated. The following combination of characters distinguish Willamette Oregon chub larvae from other cyprinid larvae found in the Willamette drainage: 33-37 myomeres, preanal length of 52-61%, and absence of snout pigment. Willamette Oregon chub larvae generally congregated in nearshore areas, in the upper layers of the water column, in shallow water. They fed primarily in the water column, and ate primarily rotifers and cladocerans.
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