Population regulation in adult, but not juvenile, resident trout (Salmo trutta ) in a Lake District stream

  • Elliott J
  • Hurley M
  • 2

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Abstract

1. Unlike a neighbouring sea-trout population that showed strong density-dependent survival, a resident trout population (Salmo trutta L.) showed simple proportionate survival in the early life-stages. However, this persistent population fluctuated within narrow limits. Mature adults, especially during spawning, were the only possible life-stage left in which regulation might occur. 2. An October census, just prior to spawning, was made at five sites (total area 300 m2) from 1965 to 1983. Gravel nests (redds) associated with females of known size were excavated outside these sites to obtain a power-function relationship between egg density per redd and female length (range 181-280 mm, n = 26). This relationship and the census data for females (range 186-284 mm) were used to estimate egg densities in each year-class. 3. The census data for the early life-stages (0+, 1+, 2+ trout) confirmed proportionate survival with no evidence for density-dependent regulation. In contrast, the number of spawning females produced in each year-class was strongly density dependent on the initial number of females that laid eggs at the start of the year-class. Similarly, total egg production in each year-class was density dependent on initial egg density. 4 Both relationships were well described by the Ricker and Beverton-Holt stock-recruitment models (P < 0.001) and the goodness-of-fit was similar for both models. This study is probably the first to provide clear evidence for fish population regulation in the adult, rather than the juvenile, stage.

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Authors

  • J M Elliott

  • M A Hurley

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