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Synchrony in brown trout, Salmo trutta, population dynamics: a ‘Moran effect’ on early-life stages


  • Franck Cattanéo,

  • Bernard Hugueny,

  • Nicolas Lamouroux

F. Cattanéo and N. Lamouroux, Cemagref, U.R. Biologie des Ecosystèmes Aquatiques, 3 bis Quai Chauveau, CP 220, FR-69 336 Lyon Cedex 09, France ( Alternative address for FC: U.R. Hydrologie-Hydraulique, same address as above. – B. Hugueny, IRD, Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, Univ. Lyon I, 43 bvd du 11 Novembre 1918, FR-69 622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.


Synchrony among populations (i.e. spatial covariation in temporal fluctuations of population size or growth rate) is a common feature to many animals. Both large-scale autocorrelated climatic factors (the ‘Moran effect’) and dispersal between populations are candidates to explain synchrony, although their relative influence is difficult to assess. Only a few investigations have reported patterns of synchrony among freshwater populations, and even fewer directly related these patterns to an environmental variable. In the present study, we analysed the spatio-temporal patterns of fluctuation of 57 brown trout populations widespread across France, each sampled continuously during 5 years. We compared the respective influence of connectivity and stream distance within basins (i.e. that potentially allow a basin-scale dispersal) and environmental factors (hydrological and air temperature variables, available for 37 sites) on the synchrony of brown trout cohort densities (0+, 1+ and adults). A series of Mantel tests revealed that the degree of synchrony was not related to connectivity or stream distance between sites, suggesting no effect of dispersal at the basin-scale. The degree of synchrony among sites for the 0+ fish was significantly related to the degree of hydrological synchrony (based on high flows during the emergence period). For all three age classes, the synchrony in the temperature patterns did not explain synchrony in trout dynamics. Our results allow us to discuss the respective influence of dispersal and climatic factors on the spatio-temporal patterns of trout dynamics at the basin scale.