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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Landscape features determine brown trout population structure and recruitment dynamics

Jones, Douglas A.; Akbaripasand, Abbas; Nakagawa, Shinichi; Closs, Gerard P.


Variation in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) population recruitment and structure is related to migratory patterns, which should depend on ease of access to habitats providing increased opportunity for growth. We quantified the number of young of year (YOY) as a proportion of the total number of brown trout at 24 locations on 11 streams within the Taieri catchment, New Zealand, including back calculated growth rates and emergence dates from otoliths. Locations with high absolute and relative abundance of YOY fish were related to elevation and distance from the river mainstem (habitat used by migratory fish), fish density, and the interaction between invertebrate food biomass, distance and elevation. Hatch date and growth were not related to the proportion of YOY fish, though growth was negatively correlated to total fish density. We suggest landscape features play a large role in determining recruitment and population structure. Locations at lower elevations have a high YOY density, high competition and lower growth, likely prompting out-migration. These conditions could be created by successful return migration and spawning of large fecund fish resulting in YOY densities exceeding the habitat carrying capacity. Environmental factors, such as food availability, also played a role in determining population structure. These results provide an example of how population structure and recruitment might be controlled by local conditions and access to high growth environments in wild populations of introduced brown trout across a catchment.


altitude; distance; food; landscape; migration; residency

Published in

Ecology of Freshwater Fish
2019, Volume: 28, number: 4, pages: 554-562
Publisher: WILEY

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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