Rossi, G.J., Power, M.E., Pneh, S., Neuswanger, J.R., and Caldwell, T
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 78(8): 1045-1056
Publication year: 2021

Salmonids frequently adapt their feeding and movement strategies to cope with seasonally fluctuating stream environments. Oncorhynchus mykiss tend to drift-forage in higher velocity habitat than other salmonids, yet their presence in streams with seasonally low velocity and drift suggests behavioral flexibility. We combined 3D videogrammetry with measurements of invertebrate drift and stream hydraulics to investigate the drivers of O. mykiss foraging mode and movement during the seasonal recession in a California stream. From May to July (2016), foraging movement rate increased as prey concentration and velocity declined; however, movement decreased in August as pools became low and still. In May, 80% of O. mykiss were drift-foraging, while by July, over 70% used search or benthic-foraging modes. Velocity and riffle crest depth were significant predictors of foraging mode, while drift concentration was a poor univariate predictor. However, top-ranked additive models included both hydraulic variables and drift concentration. A drift-foraging bioenergetic model was a poor predictor of foraging mode. We suggest that infall and benthic prey, as well as risk aversion, may influence late-summer foraging decisions.

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