Main content area

Effects of Smallmouth Bass on Atlantic Salmon Habitat Use and Diel Movements in an Artificial Stream

Wathen, Gus, Zydlewski, Joseph, Coghlan, Stephen M., Trial, Joan G.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 2012 v.141 no.1 pp. 174-184
Micropterus dolomieu, Salmo salar, allopatry, diel activity, habitat preferences, habitats, interspecific competition, ontogeny, streams, sympatry, transponders, watersheds
Invasive smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu have been introduced to some of the last remaining watersheds that contain wild anadromous Atlantic salmon Salmo salar , yet little is known about the interactions between these species. We used an artificial stream equipped with passive integrated transponder tag antenna arrays to monitor habitat use and movements of age-0 Atlantic salmon and age-0 smallmouth bass in sympatry and allopatry. We used additive and substitutive designs to test for changes in habitat use, diel movements, and diel activity patterns of prior-resident Atlantic salmon or smallmouth bass resulting from the addition of conspecifics or heterospecifics. Atlantic salmon prior residents did not change their habitat use in the presence of conspecific or heterospecific invaders. However, Atlantic salmon invaders did lessen riffle habitat use by smallmouth bass prior residents during daytime. Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass displayed different diel activity patterns of movement (Atlantic salmon were more nocturnal; smallmouth bass were more diurnal), which were affected by heterospecific introductions. Because the two species tended to favor different habitat types and displayed different diel activity patterns, we suggest that under the conditions tested, the level of interspecific competition for habitat was low. Age-0 Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass may be able to avoid intense interspecific competition through spatial and temporal habitat partitioning. These data do not, however, predict the potential for competition under different seasonal or ontogenetic circumstances.