Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Abstract We examined the relationship between young brown trout ( Salmo trutta) density in lake tributaries, and water chemistry and habitat variables. The study was carried out during the autumn in three acidic, softwater river systems in western and southwestern Norway; Gaular and Vikedal (1987–1993) and Bjerkreim (1988–1993). The streams had mean calcium concentrations of 0.35 mg L-1 (Gaular), 0.52 mg L-1 (Vikedal) and 0.84 mg L-1 (Bjerkreim). The concentration of inorganic Al was generally low, with mean values of 8.40 (Gaular), 22.22 (Vikedal) and 43.36 μg L-1 (Bjerkreim). In multiple regressions that involved different water chemistry variables, brown trout density correlated best with calcium concentration and with a combination of calcium and pH; the Ca2+:H+ ratio. In Vikedal and Gaular, calcium explained 51 and 57%, respectively, of the variability in brown trout densities. Althoug alkalinity exhibited the best correlation with brown trout density in Bjerkreim ( r2=0.33), it was similar to that of the model that included all major ions plus pH. The Ca2+:H+ ratio had a larger effect for variability in brown trout density in Gaular (r2=0.66) than calcium alone. In Vikedal and Bjerkreim, the Ca2+:H+ ratio also correlated with brown trout density, but considerably less than in Gaular. The predictive power of habitat variables was much lower than that of water chemistry; the single most important factors were altitude in Gaular (r2=0.22), mean water temperature in Vikedal (r2=0.11) and depth SD (index of heterogeneity) in Bjerkreim (r2=0.07). Models that included both habitat and water chemistry variables showed that the density of young brown trout was predicted primarily by calcium concentrations in Gaular (r2=0.75) and Vikedal (r2=0.54), as opposed to pH in Bjerkreim (r2=0.25). Habitat had low effect in all three river systems (r2=0.01–0.04). The final model explained 86, 68 and 32%, respectively, of the variability in brown trout density in the three catchments. Thus, water chemistry variables seem to be factors that limit the density of young brown trout in acidic softwater streams.
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