Thibault I, Hedger RD, Dodson JJ, Shiao J-C, Iizuka Y, Tzeng W-N. Anadromy and the dispersal of an invasive fish species (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Eastern Quebec, as revealed by otolith microchemistry. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 2010: 19: 348–360. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Abstract – Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is invading rivers bordering the St. Lawrence Estuary (Quebec, Canada). Some rivers in Eastern Quebec support self-sustaining populations while adult vagrants are frequently captured in rivers where no reproduction has been confirmed. We hypothesised that the development of anadromy has promoted the species dispersal. Otolith Sr:Ca analyses revealed that although all fish captured in the upstream stocking region were freshwater residents, both anadromous and freshwater resident phenotypes were found downstream in Eastern Quebec. The proportion of fish exhibiting the anadromous life cycle increased with the distance from the stocking zone. Eastern Quebec steelhead migrated to sea at the same age but at a larger size than steelhead within their native range. Age at first reproduction was similar to that observed in native populations. The development of the anadromous life cycle enables this species to colonise new rivers following long-distance migrations along the St. Lawrence Estuary corridor.