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Landscape characteristics and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) distributions: explaining abundance versus occupancyAuthor(s): E.A. Steel; D.W. Jensen; K.M. Burnett; K. Christiansen; J.C. Firman; B.E. Feist; K.J. Anlauf; D.P. Larsen
Source: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 69: 457-468
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionDistribution of fishes, both occupancy and abundance, is often correlated with landscape-scale characteristics (e.g., geology, climate, and human disturbance). Understanding these relationships is essential for effective conservation of depressed populations. We used landscape characteristics to explain the distribution of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in the Oregon Plan data set, one of the first long-term, probabilistic salmon monitoring data sets covering the full range of potential habitat. First we compared data structure and model performance between the Oregon Plan data set and two published data sets on coho salmon distribution. Most of the variation in spawner abundance occurred between reaches but much also occurred between years, limiting potential model performance. Similar suites of landscape predictors are correlated with coho salmon distribution across regions and data sets. We then modeled coho salmon spawner distribution using the Oregon Plan data set and determined that landscape characteristics could not explain presence vs. absence of spawners but that the percentage of agriculture, winter temperature range, and the intrinsic potential of the stream could explain some variation in abundance (weighted average R2 = 0.30) where spawners were present. We conclude that the previous use of nonrandom monitoring data sets may have obscured understanding of species distribution, and we suggest minor modifications to large-scale monitoring programs.
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CitationSteel, E.A.; Jensen, D.W.; Burnett, K.M.; Christiansen, K.; Firman, J.C.; Feist, B.E.; Anlauf, K.J.; Larsen, D.P. 2012. Landscape characteristics and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) distributions: explaining abundance versus occupancy. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 69: 457-468.
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