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Axes of fear for stream fish: water depth and distance to coverAuthor(s): Bret C. Harvey; Jason L. White
Source: Environmental Biology of Fishes. 100(5): 565-573
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionTo better understand habitat-specific predation risk for stream fish, we used an approach that assumes animals trade off food for safety and accurately assess risk such that predation risk can be measured as a foraging cost: animals demand greater harvest rates to occupy riskier locations.We measured the foraging cost of predation risk for juvenile salmonids within enclosures in a natural stream at locations that varied in water depth and distance to cover. Measurements relied on a food delivery apparatus and direct observations that allowed estimation of "giving-up" harvest rates – food delivery rates at which animals left the feeding apparatus. Juvenile steelhead about 120 mm fork length exhibited sharp increases in giving-up harvest rate with decreasing water depth and refused to use the feeding device even when offered extreme food delivery rates in water ≤20 cm deep. Giving-up harvest rates were less affected by the distance to cover. Assuming the gradients we observed in giving-up harvest rates reflect predation risk, the results of this study can be applied to spatially explicit models of stream fish populations that incorporate risk into both habitat selection and mortality due to predation.
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CitationHarvey, Bret C.; White, Jason L. 2017. Axes of fear for stream fish: water depth and distance to cover. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 100(5): 565-573. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-017-0585-2.
KeywordsPredation risk, Streamfish, Salmonids, Giving-up harvest rate, Water depth, Cover
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