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Partial migration in a landlocked brown trout population


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Population densities of landlocked lake-migratory brown trout Salmo trutta were estimated in two distinct lotic sections, separated by a lentic segment, in the Greåna River, Sweden, and individual growth and habitat use were monitored for 835 tagged brown trout from September 1998 to June 2000. Residency dominated in the upstream section where density of 0+ and 1+ year brown trout was low and growth rate high. In contrast, >90% of the brown trout that migrated to the lake originated from the downstream section, where density was high and growth rate low. For ≥2+ year individuals, growth rate was similar between the two stream sections, but densities were higher in the upstream than in the downstream section. Lake-migrants had higher growth rates than non-migrants (residents) during the autumn of both years. From September to May, migrants increased their body mass by >35%, whereas non-migrants increased by <5%. Approximately 70% of the brown trout moved <10 m and <2% moved between the two stream sections, indicating that the lentic habitat might function as a barrier for juveniles. Differences in migratory behaviour, density and growth between the upstream and the downstream section might indicate that environmental factors influence the decision to migrate. It cannot be excluded, however, that the observed differences are genetically programmed, selected by migration costs that favour migratory behaviour downstream and residency upstream.