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An investigation of competitive interactions between brown trout salmo trutta and juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar in river of avalon peninsula newfoundland canada

An investigation of competitive interactions between brown trout salmo trutta and juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar in river of avalon peninsula newfoundland canada

Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (1472): I-V, 1-82

Underwater observations were made at four sites in three rivers on the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland, three with both brown trout (Salmo trutta) and juvenile salmon (Salmo salar) present, and one with only brown trout. The two species were generally spatially segregated, with brown trout older than 0+ occurring in deeper slower water than salmon, although overhanging cover was a substitute for depth. The most obvious segregation of the two species was in the largest river, the Salmonier, where differences in habitat were greater than at other stations and abundance of food appeared least. The salmon:trout ratio was 45:1 in the riffle, and 1:3.2 in the pool. Holding stations between species with regard to depth and water velocity were significantly different (P < 0.01). There was considerable overlap of habitat distribution where the two species coexisted in the smaller stream investigated, the North Arm River. At an upstream station the ratio of salmon:brown trout was 5.7:1 in a riffle and flat, and 1.1:1 in a pool. There were no significant differences in preferences of depth and velocity (P > 0.05). At a downstream station the salmon:brown trout ratio was 4.3:1 in the riffle, and 3.6:1 in the pool. There was a significant difference in water velocity preference (P < 0.05), although not in depth (P > 0.05). There was considerable change in numbers of fish seen through the season, with least numbers seen during cold temperatures and high water in the early spring and late fall. Differences were found in feeding by the two species, with considerable overlap in diets. With fish older than 0+, salmon preyed more on ephemeropteran nymphs and simuliid larvae than did brown trout, which preyed more on terrestrial invertebrates in the surface drift than did salmon. The two species apparently are ecologically compatible and competition appears to be minimized by habitat segregation related mainly to water velocity and depth. Within the limitations of this study we found no evidence of negative effects of brown trout on juvenile salmon. It is suggested further extension of the range of brown trout in Newfoundland is limited by a combination of inter-specific interactions, habitat, and climate.

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