Landscape-scale evaluation of asymmetric interactions between Brown Trout and Brook Trout using two-species occupancy models

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 

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Abstract

Predicting the distribution of native stream fishes is fundamental to the management and conservation of many species. Modeling species distributions often consists of quantifying relationships between species occurrence and abundance data at known locations with environmental data at those locations. However, it is well documented that native stream fish distributions can be altered as a result of asymmetric interactions between dominant exotic and subordinate native species. For example, the naturalized exotic Brown Trout Salmo trutta has been identified as a threat to native Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis in the eastern United States. To evaluate large-scale patterns of co-occurrence and to quantify the potential effects of Brown Trout presence on Brook Trout occupancy, we used data from 624 stream sites to fit two-species occupancy models. These models assumed that asymmetric interactions occurred between the two species. In addition, we examined natural and anthropogenic landscape characteristics we hypothesized would be important predictors of occurrence of both species. Estimated occupancy for Brook Trout, from a co-occurrence model with no landscape covariates, at sites with Brown Trout present was substantially lower than sites where Brown Trout were absent. We also observed opposing patterns for Brook and Brown Trout occurrence in relation to percentage forest, impervious surface, and agriculture within the network catchment. Our results are consistent with other studies and suggest that alterations to the landscape, and specifically the transition from a forested catchment to one that contains impervious surface or agriculture, reduces the occurrence probability of wild Brook Trout. Our results, however, also suggest that the presence of Brown Trout results in lower occurrence probability of Brook Trout over a range of anthropogenic landscape characteristics, compared with streams where Brown Trout were absent.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Landscape-scale evaluation of asymmetric interactions between Brown Trout and Brook Trout using two-species occupancy models
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2012.734892
Volume 142
Issue 2
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 8 p.
First page 353
Last page 361
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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