Factors Influencing Brook Trout Population Synchrony in the Central Appalachians

Monday, August 18, 2014: 1:50 PM
206A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Ross Andrew , Fisheries and Wildlife, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Kyle J. Hartman , Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Brook trout populations within the Central Appalachians represent valuable native stream resources.  We have collected long-term fish and habitat data on 25 headwater streams within the mountainous regions of West Virginia, USA.  These data were analyzed within a time series framework to investigate trends and patterns that may help explain synchrony and deviations among these spatially disjointed stream populations.  Correlations in per capita population growth rate among 21 of the streams were relatively high (~65%), while 4 of the remaining populations were poorly correlated with respect to population growth rate (~17%).  We attempt to explain these patterns using habitat variables such as geology type, drainage area, and spawning area among others.  This research is an initial effort to uncover potential drivers of brook trout population resilience/resistance which we hope will lead to more efficient management and conservation in the face of an increasingly variable climate.