Seasonal Movement Patterns and Habitat Use of the Eastern Brook Trout in North-Central Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 8:00 AM
Miller (Statehouse Convention Center)
Lori Smith , Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Tyler Wagner , U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University Park, PA
The eastern brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis faces a variety of threats largely due to anthropogenic alterations to the landscape and climate change.  For resource management agencies, evaluating the cost/benefits of conserving existing populations and restoring habitats that once supported self-sustaining populations requires an understanding of temporal and spatial movement patterns and habitat requirements.  We employed radio biotelemetry to quantify movement and habitat use of the eastern brook trout from late-summer 2012 through winter 2013.  We equipped 55 brook trout, distributed among five interconnected streams in North-central Pennsylvania, with radio-transmitters.  Thalweg profiles of the streams were also surveyed to quantify available residual pool habitat.  Preliminary results indicate a large amount of among-fish variability in movement with the majority of movement coinciding with the on-set of the spawning season.  Increases in stream flow and decreases in water temperature correlated to increases and decreases in movement, respectively.  There was an overall preference for pool versus non-pool habitats; however, habitat use of pools was non-linear over time.  Variations in movement patterns and habitat use highlight the importance for management agencies to consider diverse in-stream habitat features and stream connectivity when restoring and protecting habitats and populations of the eastern brook trout.