We examined the influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution, abundance, and condition of salmonid fishes along a stream gradient. We observed a longitudinal change in fish distribution with native cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki utah, and introduced brown trout, Salmo trutta, demonstrating a distinct pattern of allopatry. Cutthroat trout dominated high elevation reaches, while reaches at lower elevations were dominated by brown trout. A transition zone between these populations was associated with lower total trout abundance, consistent changes in temperature and discharge, and differences in dietary preference. Variation in cutthroat trout abundance was best explained by a model including the abundance of brown trout and diel temperature, whereas variation in brown trout abundance was best explained by a model including the abundance of cutthroat trout and discharge. These results suggest the potential for condition-mediated competition between the two species. The results from our study can aid biologists in prioritizing conservation activities and in developing robust management strategies for cutthroat trout. ?? Springer 2005.
Additional publication details
Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution of trout and salmon along a longitudinal stream gradient