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Turbid water induces refuge behaviour of a commercially important ayu: A field experiment for interstream movement using multiple artificial streams

Mori, Terutaka, Kato, Yasumitsu, Takagi, Tetsuya, Onoda, Yukio, Kayaba, Yuichi
Ecology of freshwater fish 2018 v.27 no.4 pp. 1015-1022
Plecoglossus altivelis, field experimentation, freshwater fisheries, refuge habitats, rivers, sport fishing, streams, total suspended solids, watersheds
Riverine systems are inherently dendritic in nature, and turbid water may not necessarily flow equally throughout an entire catchment. Tributaries have the potential to serve as refugia from temporarily turbid water in the main stem. As ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) are one of the important species for the inland fisheries industry and recreational fishing, their behaviour in a branched river network is a primary concern. We released ayu with radio‐transmitting tags into two experimental streams that joined at a downstream pool. Turbid water was released into one of the streams, and we identified whether avoidance movement of ayu between the two experimental streams was triggered by flowing turbid water. The suspended solid concentration elevated rapidly after adding the turbid water and was maintained at more than 400 mg/L for 3 hr. Avoidance movement of ayu was triggered when the suspended solid concentration exceeded approximately 200 mg/L. Then, most ayu moved from the turbid stream to the nonturbid one, leading to a difference in ayu density between the two streams. Therefore, we demonstrated that turbid water induced interstream movement of a commercially important ayu as refuge behaviour, suggesting that river connectivity is important for the persistence of the ayu.