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The influence of small-scale variation in habitat on winter trout distribution and diet in an afforested catchment
Lehane, B.M.; Walsh, B.; Giller, P.S.; O'Halloran, J. (2001). The influence of small-scale variation in habitat on winter trout distribution and diet in an afforested catchment. Aquat. Ecol. 35(1): 61-71
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Brown trout; Diet; Winter

Authors  Top 
  • Lehane, B.M.
  • Walsh, B.
  • Giller, P.S.
  • O'Halloran, J.

Abstract
    (1) Habitat influences on trout distribution and diet at a reach scale were analysed over a single winter in a conifer-afforested catchment in Ireland, in an area subject to very low levels of atmospheric pollution. (2) A total of 234 salmonids were sampled from which 1194 individual prey items were recovered. Salmonids were sampled at eleven sites over a 2 km stretch of the river Douglas, a third order stream of the river Araglin in the Munster Blackwater, Co. Cork, Ireland. (3) In this winter study, water depth and flow primarily influenced trout distribution. (4) Stepwise multiple regression was used to identify the most influential environmental factors on trout metrics. Trout biomass was positively correlated to maximum depth and the percentage of pool area within sites, but density and condition were not significantly influenced by habitat variation at the reach scale. (5) The results from diet analysis suggest that trout are heterogeneous generalist feeders in winter, preying mainly on Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera species. Prey diversity in the diet of individuals throughout the study was positively correlated to the percentage of deciduous vegetation, undercut banks and coniferous vegetation, whilst the prey sub-population diversity at site scale was not related to any of the habitat variables measured.

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