Stream fish rely on a mix of terrestrial and aquatic prey sources. While the importance of terrestrial invertebrates as a food source for stream fish is well documented, the role of aquatic insects that emerge from the stream as winged adult insects (aquatic winged adults) and return to the stream as prey is less understood. In this study we determined the proportion of total diet for stream-rearing juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) that is derived from terrestrial and aquatic winged adult invertebrates which enter the stream from riparian habitats and consider how those cross-ecosystem prey contributions vary based on riparian habitat type. Study reaches were identified in three streams within the Kenai River watershed of Alaska that were representative of habitats found throughout the region and riparian vegetation was classified into grass/sedge, shrub and tree types using LiDAR. Juvenile Coho Salmon stomach contents were sampled seasonally in study reaches over a two-year period and ingested invertebrates were identified by taxa, life stage and origin. Our results showed that aquatic winged adult prey contributions to juvenile salmon diet were significantly lower in the grass/sedge study reach, and cross-ecosystem invertebrate prey represented a significantly higher proportion of juvenile salmon diet in the tree study reach. Invertebrate prey in the grass/sedge reach were composed primarily of the larval life stage of aquatic winged adults. These results suggest that change in riparian vegetation from tree/shrub to grass/sedge along Kenai streams as projected by regional climate change models, or that results from anthropogenic modification, will likely lead to lower availability of cross-ecosystem prey for stream fish. Management of riparian buffers along streams to preserve or increase occurrence of trees and shrubs is likely to help mitigate impacts of those possible changes.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Invertebrate prey contributions to juvenile Coho Salmon diet from riparian habitats along three Alaska streams: Implications for environmental change|
|Series title||Journal of Freshwater Ecology|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Seattle|
|Other Geospatial||Kenai watershed|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|