Influences of large-scale abiotic, geomorphic characteristics on distributions of Yellowstone cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki bouvieri are poorly understood. We sampled 151 sites on 56 perennial streams in the Greybull-Wood river drainage in northwestern Wyoming to determine the effects of geomorphic variables on Yellowstone cutthroat trout distributions. Channel slope, elevation, stream size, and barriers to upstream movement significantly influenced the presence and absence of Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Wild populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout were not found upstream of barriers to fish migration, at sites with channel slopes of 10% or greater, or at elevations above 3, 182 m. Based on channel slope alone, logistic regression models correctly classified presence or absence of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in 83% of study sites. The addition of elevation and stream size in the models increased classification to 87%. Logistic models tested on an independent data set had agreement rates as high as 91% between actual and predicted fish presence. Large-scale geomorphic variables influence Yellowstone cutthroat trout distributions, and logistic functions can predict these distributions with a high degree of accuracy.
Additional publication details
Geomorphic influences on the distribution of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Absaroka Mountains, Wyoming