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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Influence of European sculpin, Cottus gobio, on Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, recruitment and the effect of gravel size on egg predation - implications for spawning habitat restoration

Palm, D.; Lindberg, M.; Braennaes, E.; Lundqvist, H.; Oestergren, J.; Carlsson, U.


P>The study examined if recruitment of juvenile Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., was influenced by the presence of European sculpin, Cottus gobio L., and if the spawning substrate size used by salmon influences sculpin predation on salmon eggs. A combination of information on spawning site selection by female salmon and associated densities of juvenile salmon indicated that recruitment of juvenile salmon was 10 times lower in areas where sculpin was present than areas without sculpin. Predation rate on salmon eggs was found to be dependent on substrate size in artificial redds created in stream aquaria using four different sizes of substrate (13, 23, 37 and 62 mm). Predation rate averaged 83% in the aquaria with the largest substrate size, whereas a rate of only 2-3% was observed using smaller substrate sizes. Sculpin may thus be an important factor influencing the recruitment of juvenile salmon. Selecting small enough gravel sizes during restoration of salmon spawning habitat could therefore be important to minimise egg predation.


competition; predation; restoration

Published in

Fisheries Management and Ecology
2009, Volume: 16, number: 6, pages: 501-507