Johan Watz, Assistant Professor at Karlstad University, recently published two papers on juvenile salmonid ecology:

 

Temperature‐dependent competition between juvenile salmonids in small streams

By Johan Watz, Yasuhiko Otsuki, Kenta Nagatsuka, Koh Hasegawa & Itsuro Koizumi, published in the journal Freshwater Biology.

In the abstract, the authors write:

Johan Watz, doing field work during his PostDoc in Japan.

1) Biotic interactions affect species distributions, and environmental factors that influence these interactions can play a key role when range shifts in response to environmental change are modelled.

2) In a field experiment using enclosures, we studied the effects of the thermal habitat on intra‐ versus inter‐specific competition of juvenile Dolly Varden Salvelinus malma and white‐spotted charr Salvelinus leucomaenis, as measured by differences in specific growth rates during summer in allopatric and sympatric treatments. Previous laboratory experiments have shown mixed results regarding the importance of temperature‐dependent competitive abilities as a main driver for spatial segregation in stream fishes, and no study so far has confirmed its existence in natural streams.

3) Under natural conditions in areas where the two species occur in sympatry, Dolly Varden dominate spring‐fed tributaries (cold, stable thermal regime), whereas both species often coexist in non‐spring‐fed tributaries (warm, unstable thermal regime). Enclosures (charr density = 6 per m2) were placed in non‐spring‐fed (10–14°C) and spring‐fed (7–8°C) tributaries.

A forest stream on Hokkaido, northern Japan.

4) In enclosures placed in non‐spring‐fed tributaries, Dolly Varden grew 0.81% per day in allopatry and had negative growth (−0.33% per day) in sympatry, whereas growth rates were similar in allopatry and sympatry in spring‐fed tributaries (0.68 and 0.58% per day). White‐spotted charr grew better in sympatry than in allopatry in both thermal habitats. In non‐spring‐fed tributaries, they grew 0.17 and 0.79% per day and in spring‐fed tributaries 0.46 and 0.75% per day in allopatry and sympatry, respectively.

5) The negative effect of inter‐specific competition from white‐spotted charr on Dolly Varden thus depended on the thermal habitat. However, there was no strong evidence of a temperature‐dependent effect of intra‐ and inter‐specific competition on white‐spotted charr growth.

6) Multiple factors may shape species distribution patterns, and we show that temperature may mediate competitive outcomes and thus coexistence in stream fish. These effects of temperature will be important to incorporate into mechanistic and dynamic species distribution models.

 

Read more about the Koizumi lab at Hokkaido University (where Johan did his PostDoc) on their website!

 

Structural complexity in the hatchery rearing environment affects activity, resting metabolic rate and post‐release behaviour in brown trout Salmo trutta

By Johan Watz, published in the Journal of Fish Biology

In the abstract, Johan writes:

The effects of structural enrichment in the hatchery rearing environment of brown trout Salmo trutta was linked to post‐release performance. Enrichment resulted in reduced swimming activity scored in an open field test and reduced movement in a natural river after release. Also, enrichment increased resting metabolic rates, which correlated positively with overwinter growth.

 

Contact the author to access the papers.

 

The left photographs show Dolly Varden (a) and white‐spotted charr (b). The right photographs show enclosures in a non‐spring‐fed (c) and a spring‐fed (d) tributary.

 

The structurally enriched (left) and barren (right) tanks used in the study on how structural complexity in the hatchery environment affects juvenile brown trout.

 

River Rottnan in winter.

On Thursday 23 August Steve Railsback from Humboldt State University, California USA, will give a seminar at Karlstad University titled: “Can Big Complex Models be Useful? Lessons from 20 Years of Salmonid Modeling for River Management”.

The seminar will start at 10:00 in room 5F416, everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

Steve will give a brief overview and history of individual-based trout and salmon models, and provide examples of how the modeling experience produced general knowledge about ecology and fish.

Read more about Steve’s work on individual-based modeling and ecology here.

 

 

Marcell Szabo-Meszaros, Christy Ushanth Navaratnam, Jochen Aberle, Knut Alfredsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Ana T. Silva, Torbjørn Forseth (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), Olle Calles (Karlstad University) and Hans-Petter Fjeldstad (SINTEF Energy Research) recently published the scientific paper “Experimental hydraulics on fish-friendly trash-racks: an ecological approach” in the journal Ecological Engineering. The study is part of the project SafePass, where methods for safe and efficient migration for salmonids and European eel past hydropower structures are evaluated. SafePass aims to facilitate fish migration in regulated rivers, using perspectives of both the fish and the hydropower industry. Read more about SafePass here.

In the abstract of the paper, the authors write: ”The obstruction of fish migratory routes by hydroelectric facilities is worldwide one of the major threats to freshwater fishes. During downstream migration, fish may be injured or killed on the trash-racks or in the hydropower turbines. Fish-friendly trash-racks that combine both ecological and technical requirements are a solution to mitigate fish mortality at a low operational cost. This study presents results from an experimental investigation of head-losses and the hydrodynamic performance of six angled trash-rack types with 15 mm bar spacing, varying bar-setup (vertical-streamwise, vertical-angled and horizontal bars) and bar profiles (rectangular and drop shape) under steady flow conditions. The trash-racks were positioned at 30° to the wall of the flume and combined with a bypass at their downstream end. The impact of the different trash-rack types on the upstream flow field was characterized using Image based Volumetric 3-component Velocimetry (V3V) and at the bypass-entrance using an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV). The results show that trash-racks with vertical streamwise and horizontal oriented bars with drop-shape profiles have similar head-losses (13% difference), while trash-racks with vertical-angled bars provide 3–8 times larger head-losses compared to the remaining configurations. The velocity measurements showed that the highest flow velocities occurred for configurations with vertical-angled bars (0.67ms−1 and 0.81ms−1 on average, respectively).Turbulence related parameters (e.g. Reynolds shear stresses and Turbulent kinetic energy) were also investigated to evaluate the performance of the alternative trash-racks from both, engineering and ecological perspectives.”

Access the paper here, or e-mail any of the authors.

The Volumetric 3-component Velocimetry (V3V) system used in the study.

John Piccolo presented a poster about Klarälven salmon at the recent international symposium “Advances in the Population Ecology of Stream Salmonids – IV” in Girona, Cataluña, Spain. The poster can be seen online here:

piccolo_poster

John also gave a presentation about conservation biology of salmon and trout, focusing on a recent debate on conservation ethics summarized by Tallis et als (2014) article in Nature Communications. He also recommends Holmes Rolston III“A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth”  for more reading on conservation ethics.