Winter behaviour of stream salmonids: effects of temperature, light, and ice cover
Sammanfattning: In boreal streams, stream salmonids typically face low water temperatures and variable ice conditions during winter, and thus stream salmonids are expected to use different behavioural strategies to cope with these environmental conditions. The studies presented in this thesis explore how temperature, light intensity, and surface ice affect salmonid behaviour, with focus on drift-feeding and ventilation rates. The first paper reports results from a laboratory study designed to measure prey capture probabilities and reaction distances of drift-feeding Atlantic salmon, brown trout, and European grayling at light intensities simulating daylight and moonlight at seven temperatures ranging from 2 to 11°C. There was a positive relationship between water temperature and prey capture probability for all three species at both light levels, but the temperature-dependence did not scale according to the Metabolic Theory of Ecology. Reaction distance was also positively related to temperature for the three species, which may explain the temperature effects on prey capture probability. The results from this study should be of interest for those working with energetic-based drift-foraging models. In the second paper, the effects of ice cover on the diel behaviour and ventilation rate of brown trout were studied in a laboratory stream. Ice cover is believed to afford protection against endothermic predators, and thus the need for vigilance should be reduced under ice cover. This hypothesis was tested by observing ventilation rates at night, dawn, and during the day in the presence and absence of real, light-permeable surface ice. Further, trout were offered drifting prey during the day to test if ice cover increased daytime foraging activity. Ice cover reduced ventilation rates at dawn and during the day, but not at night. Moreover, trout made more daytime foraging attempts in the presence of ice cover than in its absence. These results suggest that ice cover affects the behaviour of brown trout and presumably has a positive effect on winter survival. Global warming, by reducing the extent or duration of surface ice, may therefore have negative consequences for many lotic fish populations in boreal streams.
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