An approach to assessing hydrological influences on feeding opportunities of juvenille Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): a case study of two contrasting years in a small nursery stream

D Tetzlaff, C Soulsby, C Gibbins, P. J. Bacon, A. F. Youngson

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This case study sought to examine how temporal variability in hydrological and hydraulic conditions might affect the feeding opportunities of juvenile Atlantic salmon in two hydrologically contrasting years of 2002 and 2003, which were characterised by high and low flows respectively. Firstly, measures of hydraulic influence were calculated to define what might be ecologically meaningful disturbance periods during high flows. Secondly, for identifying such periods, the parameter Critical Displacement Velocity (CDV) was derived from a river discharge time series as a first approximation of the amount of time in two hydrologically extreme years when fish foraging strategies for specific age classes of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) might be disrupted by flows. The CDV estimates the threshold velocity above which juvenile salmon are unable to hold station and it is dependent upon fish size and stream temperature. In the wet year 2002, the CDV was exceeded on 18% and 21% of days for 0+ and 1+ fish respectively. In 2003 these respective numbers fell to 6% and 15%. The data suggest that hydrological conditions during certain times of the year have the potential to affect foraging behaviour. This in turn might have implications for recruitment and growth rates for juvenile salmon in upland streams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • critical displacement velocity
  • flow regime
  • in-stream hydraulics
  • salmonids
  • temporal variability
  • water-quality
  • discharge use
  • flow regimes
  • survival
  • growth
  • consequences
  • temperatures
  • variability
  • variables
  • patterns

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