Classification of Icelandic watersheds and rivers to explain life history strategies of Atlantic salmon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nv935535q

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  • A hierarchical classification system of Iceland's watersheds and rivers is presented. The classification is based on Iceland's substrate, climate, water, biota, and human cultural influences. The geological formations of Iceland are very different in character depending on their age and formation history. Three major types of formations occur: Tertiary, Plio-Pleistocene, and Pleistocene. These formations have different hydrological characters and different landscapes. There are also large differences in the climate within Iceland. Four major river types are found in Iceland: spring-fed rivers in Pleistocene areas, direct runoff rivers in Plio-Pleistocene areas, direct runoff rivers in Tertiary areas and wetland heath rivers in Tertiary areas. Eleven biogeoclimatic regions occur in Iceland, each having a different watershed type. The classification together with life history theory can explain the distributions, abundances, and life history strategies of Icelandic salmonids. Oceanic conditions must also be considered to explain the life history patterns of anadromous populations. When the freshwater and marine habitat is stable, the life history patterns of individuals in a population tend to be uniform, one life history form being most common. In an unstable environment many life history forms occur and the life span of one generation is long. The properties of the habitat can further explain which life history types are present. In the most stable and favorable rivers of Iceland resident life history forms are more common. Such a classification of a river habitat greatly aids the understanding of the habitat and how it enables and constrains the salmonid populations within it. Consequently adaptations in life histories are better understood and conservation, utilization, and management of these valuable natural resources are made more coherent and efficient.
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