Get access

Size-dependent survival of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis in summer: effects of water temperature and stream flow

Authors

  • C. L. Xu,

    1. The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut River Program, Draper Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A.
    2. S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, US Geological Survey/Leetown Science Center, Turners Falls, MA 01376, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. H. Letcher,

    Corresponding author
    1. S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, US Geological Survey/Leetown Science Center, Turners Falls, MA 01376, U.S.A.
      Tel.: +1 4138633803; fax: +1 4138639810; email: bletcher@nrc.umass.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • K. H. Nislow

    1. Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

Tel.: +1 4138633803; fax: +1 4138639810; email: bletcher@nrc.umass.edu

Abstract

A 5 year individual-based data set was used to estimate size-specific survival rates in a wild brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis population in a stream network encompassing a mainstem and three tributaries (1·5–6 m wetted width), western Massachusetts, U.S.A. The relationships between survival in summer and temperature and flow metrics derived from continuous monitoring data were then tested. Increased summer temperatures significantly reduced summer survival rates for S. fontinalis in almost all size classes in all four sites throughout the network. In contrast, extreme low summer flows reduced survival of large fish, but only in small tributaries, and had no significant effects on fish in smaller size classes in any location. These results provide direct evidence of a link between season-specific survival and environmental factors likely to be affected by climate change and have important consequences for the management of both habitats and populations.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary