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Keywords:

  • exotic species;
  • non-native salmonid;
  • seasonal flooding;
  • spring-fed

Abstract

Flow regime is one of the major determinants of establishment success for non-native aquatic organisms. Here, we examine the influence of flow variability associated with snowmelt flood on the establishment success of non-native brown trout in 10 streams in northern Japan. We regarded the presence of Age-0 brown trout as the index of the successful establishment. The emergence of Age-0 brown trout in our study region begins in May, a time that overlaps with the occurrence of snowmelt flood. The presence of Age-0 brown trout was negatively associated with flow variability, and it was also negatively associated with summer water temperature. Our results indicate that the non-native brown trout tends to establish in the streams with smaller snowmelt floods and lower summer water temperatures. Brown trout is an invasive, non-native species that is problematic all over the world, and effective management strategies for preventing their further expansion are urgently needed. This study suggests that river managers should recognise that stable streams such as spring-fed streams (i.e., low flow and summer water temperature) and flow-regulated streams, have a higher potential risk of brown trout invasion.