Spatial and temporal patterns of growth and consumption by juvenile spring/summer Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Abstract

Somatic growth is often used as a metric of habitat quality, but such an approach has limitations because growth results from complex interactions between abiotic and biotic factors. In this study, we derived estimates of weekly growth (based on otolith growth increments) across several months for four populations of threatened Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, from the Salmon River Basin, Idaho, USA. Although mean stream temperature varied by 2–5 °C across populations, growth across the season did not vary significantly by population. To investigate this further, we applied a bioenergetics model that produced estimates of consumption rates. We then examined how growth and consumption rates varied according to rearing stream and day in the season. Using generalized least squares models, somatic growth (g⋅day−1) was best explained by stream and date, yet a model with only date had moderate support, and thus indicated limited support for stream effects. Specific consumption rate (g⋅g−1⋅day−1 and J⋅g−1⋅day−1) was best explained using a model that included main effects of stream and date. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that higher temperatures confer higher metabolic costs that require greater consumption to produce similar growth rates in cooler streams. This highlights that similarity in growth rate among streams may mask changes in individual behavior and/or energetic acquisition associated with differences in temperatures among streams. Results of this study represent the first steps towards identifying factors that underlie important population level and habitat quality differences.

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Notes

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    Use of trade names does not imply endorsement by the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA.

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Acknowledgments

We thank C. Vizza, A. Goodwin, C. Tran, H. Coe, and S. Achord, for collecting fish samples. We thank L. Crozier for providing the map of Salmon River basin populations, C. Harvey for assistance with bioenergetic components. M. Carey and B. Burke provided valuable comments that greatly improved an earlier draft. Collection permits were obtained from ESA (Sect 10 permit # 1406) and USFS (biological opinion #1-4-04-F-289).

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Chittaro, P.M., Zabel, R.W., Haught, K. et al. Spatial and temporal patterns of growth and consumption by juvenile spring/summer Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha . Environ Biol Fish 97, 1397–1409 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-014-0230-2

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Keywords

  • Generalized least squares models
  • Somatic growth and consumption rate
  • Proportion of maximum consumption