Native eastern brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and naturalized brown trout Salmo trutta occur sympatrically in many streams across the brook trout’s native range in the eastern United States. Understanding within- among-species variability in movement, including correlates of movement, has implications for management and conservation. We radio tracked 55 brook trout and 45 brown trout in five streams in a north-central Pennsylvania, USA watershed to quantify the movement of brook trout and brown trout during the fall and early winter to (1) evaluate the late-summer, early winter movement patterns of brook trout and brown trout, (2) determine correlates of movement and if movement patterns varied between brook trout and brown trout, and (3) evaluate genetic diversity of brook trout within and among study streams, and relate findings to telemetry-based observations of movement. Average total movement was greater for brown trout (mean ± SD = 2,924 ± 4,187 m) than for brook trout (mean ± SD = 1,769 ± 2,194 m). Although there was a large amount of among-fish variability in the movement of both species, the majority of movement coincided with the onset of the spawning season, and a threshold effect was detected between stream flow and movement: where movement increased abruptly for both species during positive flow events. Microsatellite analysis of brook trout revealed consistent findings to those found using radio-tracking, indicating a moderate to high degree of gene flow among brook trout populations. Seasonal movement patterns and the potential for relatively large movements of brook and brown trout highlight the importance of considering stream connectivity when restoring and protecting fish populations and their habitats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science