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Habitat-, season-, and size-specific variation in diel activity patterns of juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)



Habitat-, season-, and size-specific variation in diel activity patterns of juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)



Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58(2): 5-74



Juvenile salmonids that live in streams are sometimes nocturnal and may spend the day concealed in the stream substrate. We observed the diel activity patterns of juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in two areas of the Bridge River, British Columbia, in all four seasons. In a reach with higher flows, most fish were nocturnal year-round, and they emerged from the substrate only at dusk to forage. In the reach with lower flows, some fish were active in the water column in the day in summer, but others remained concealed in the substrate until dusk. Parr and older fish were more nocturnal in summer than fry. All fish were nocturnal in winter. Because our study design controlled for temperature and photoperiod, we concluded that the differences in behaviour that we observed between reaches were due to habitat conditions that likely affected the tradeoff between more risky daytime foraging and less efficient, but safer, nighttime foraging. Habitat-driven variation in activity patterns will likely affect the processes that regulate these populations and could make the prediction of the effects of ecosystem manipulations such as changes in flow very difficult.

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Accession: 009865105

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1139/f00-253


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