Mark-recapture methods were used to examine watershed-scale survival of coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) from two headwater stream networks. A total of 1725 individuals (???100 mm, fork length) were individually marked and monitored seasonally over a 3-year period. Differences in survival were compared among spatial (stream segment, subwatershed, and watershed) and temporal (season and year) analytical scales, and the effects of abiotic (discharge, temperature, and cover) and biotic (length, growth, condition, density, movement, and relative fish abundance) factors were evaluated. Seasonal survival was consistently lowest and least variable (years combined) during autumn (16 September - 15 December), and evidence suggested that survival was negatively associated with periods of low stream discharge. In addition, relatively low (-) and high (+) water temperatures, fish length (-), and boulder cover (+) were weakly associated with survival. Seasonal abiotic conditions affected the adult cutthroat trout population in these watersheds, and low-discharge periods (e.g., autumn) were annual survival bottlenecks. Results emphasize the importance of watershed-scale processes to the understanding of population-level survival.
Additional Publication Details
Factors influencing coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) seasonal survival rates: A spatially continuous approach within stream networks
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences