Assessing conditions influencing the longitudinal distribution of exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a mountain stream: a spatially-explicit modeling approach

Biological Invasions
By: , and 

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Abstract

Trout species often segregate along elevational gradients, yet the mechanisms driving this pattern are not fully understood. On the Logan River, Utah, USA, exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) dominate at low elevations but are near-absent from high elevations with native Bonneville cutthroat trout (Onchorhynchus clarkii utah). We used a spatially-explicit Bayesian modeling approach to evaluate how abiotic conditions (describing mechanisms related to temperature and physical habitat) as well as propagule pressure explained the distribution of brown trout in this system. Many covariates strongly explained redd abundance based on model performance and coefficient strength, including average annual temperature, average summer temperature, gravel availability, distance from a concentrated stocking area, and anchor ice-impeded distance from a concentrated stocking area. In contrast, covariates that exhibited low performance in models and/or a weak relationship to redd abundance included reach-average water depth, stocking intensity to the reach, average winter temperature, and number of days with anchor ice. Even if climate change creates more suitable summer temperature conditions for brown trout at high elevations, our findings suggest their success may be limited by other conditions. The potential role of anchor ice in limiting movement upstream is compelling considering evidence suggesting anchor ice prevalence on the Logan River has decreased significantly over the last several decades, likely in response to climatic changes. Further experimental and field research is needed to explore the role of anchor ice, spawning gravel availability, and locations of historical stocking in structuring brown trout distributions on the Logan River and elsewhere.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessing conditions influencing the longitudinal distribution of exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a mountain stream: a spatially-explicit modeling approach
Series title Biological Invasions
DOI 10.1007/s10530-016-1322-z
Volume 19
Issue 2
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 17 p.
First page 503
Last page 519
Country United States
State Utah
Other Geospatial Logan River