Juvenile coho salmon movement, growth and survival in a coastal basin of southern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x920fz985

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  • Juvenile salmonids display highly variable spatial and temporal movement patterns that are influenced by density dependent (e.g., competition, predation) and density independent (e.g., genetics, stream discharge, physical habitat conditions) factors. The effects of these factors differ with fish life history stage, but will ultimately affect how salmonids utilize freshwater nursery habitats and influence their size at smolting. Although juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) (Walbaum 1792) movement patterns and their relationships with body mass have been previously examined, the temporal scale considered in most studies has been within individual seasonal periods. In this study, we monitored the movement of PIT tagged juvenile coho salmon throughout the period of freshwater residence in an entire southern Oregon coastal basin to identify the prevalent sedentary and mobile strategies these fish may adopt and to examine possible relationships between those strategies and fish body mass, growth and survival. Specific objectives include: 1) to describe juvenile coho salmon movement strategies and patterns during the freshwater residence period; 2) to determine the relative proportions of juvenile coho salmon that exhibit each movement strategy; 3) to establish whether juvenile coho salmon body mass and growth rates are related with a set of habitat variables recorded during this study; 4) to determine whether coho salmon body mass or growth rates are related to movement strategy; and 5) to evaluate whether winter survival of juvenile coho salmon is associated with movement strategy. Results revealed seasonally and spatially variable movement. More than half of coho salmon tracked throughout the period of freshwater residence exhibited movement behavior that differed between summer and winter seasons. Within seasonal periods, coho salmon in tidally affected reaches exhibited greater prevalence of mobile behavior relative to those in riverine reaches. Regression analysis indicated coho biomass density, habitat unit structural complexity and size at tagging were important in predicting summer growth of coho salmon. Juvenile coho salmon that were mobile during summer were either larger or no different in body mass in early summer relative to fish that exhibited sedentary behavior. Similarly, no consistent differences were observed between sedentary and mobile coho salmon in regards to summer growth. Coho salmon that were sedentary in summer and winter experienced higher apparent winter survival than mobile fish in each season, though the reach in which an individual resided at the start of winter appeared to also affect survival. Coho salmon residing in the tide gate reservoir reach and mainstem headwater reaches experienced greatest apparent winter survival. These results indicate that juvenile coho salmon movement within a stream basin is spatially and temporally variable and that mobility does not necessarily indicate inferior competitive ability. In a broader context, variable movement patterns reflect the capacity for plastic behavior in salmonids and this research demonstrates the importance of maintaining seasonally diverse freshwater and estuarine nursery habitats for juvenile fish.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-10-04T15:46:29Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 WeybrightAdamD2011.pdf: 2241372 bytes, checksum: ddb24088e749b16125373d894f95c892 (MD5)
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