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Swimming performance of brown trout and grayling show species‐specific responses to changes in temperature

Taugbøl, Annette, Olstad, Kjetil, Bærum, Kim Magnus, Museth, Jon
Ecology of freshwater fish 2019 v.28 no.2 pp. 241-246
Salmo trutta, Thymallus, fish ladders, migratory behavior, rivers, spring, swimming, trout, water temperature, wild fish, Norway
Fishways have historically been constructed to restore and preserve the ecological connectivity for fish in fragmented rivers. However, the fishways are often selective on species due to different size and swimming capacity. As the proportion of dammed rivers is still increasing, there is a growing need for more information on wild fish and their migration potential. In this study, we compared the swimming capacity of wild caught brown trout (Salmo trutta) and European grayling (Thymallus thymallus) until the fish were exhausted in a critical swimming speed (Ucᵣᵢₜ) test, under three different naturally occurring stream temperatures in Norway: 1.7, 5.5 and 10°C. The results indicated that trout swim better at the warmer temperatures than at colder temperatures. The grayling showed consistent swimming patterns with little variation across all tested temperatures. The results therefore signify the need to have operational fishways already early in the spring when the grayling migration starts and highlight the need for more studies on fish migration abilities across a wider range of species and seasons.