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Flexible modes of anadromy in Baltic sea trout: making the most of marginal spawning streams

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Abstract

From examination of the ratios of strontium to calcium laid down as a lifetime record in the otoliths of sea trout Salmo trutta from Gotland, Baltic Sea, it was found that: (1) the shortest stream was used mostly by precociously emigrant or coastally hatched spawners; (2) longer streams had more fish that underwent normal smoltification; (3) sea-caught fish were predominantly coastally hatched (presumably near stream mouths). Furthermore, some otoliths showed no evidence of a freshwater history at all, raising the possibility of a contingent of the coastal population that does not depend on riverine spawning. The results emphasize the importance of the coastal zone as natal and early life habitat for sea trout in the Baltic, particularly with respect to a potential change to a warmer climate which may exacerbate conditions within small, ephemeral trout streams.

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Ancillary