Assessing discharge use by spawning Atlantic salmon: a comparison of discharge electivity indices and PHABSIM simulations

Christopher Neil Gibbins, Hamish Moir, J. Webb, Christopher Soulsby

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35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The locations used by spawning Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in a reach of the Gimock Bum, Scotland, were monitored over three successive years. Reach discharge was estimated for each spawning observation using a conversion factor applied to continuous flow data from a gauge located in the catchment. Data on the availability and use of different discharges were used to construct a discharge electivity index for the reach. The index was compared to output from a Physical HABitat SIMulation (PHABSIM) model of the reach.

Spawning fish used relatively high discharges, with the highest electivity value being for a discharge approximately three times the reach median flow. The electivity index and the PHABSIM weighted usable area (WUA) versus discharge curve were similar across the low flow range and both suggested similar optimum discharges for spawning (1.1 and 1.4 m(3) s(-1) respectively). However, electivity values suggested unsuitable conditions were reached at discharges greater than 1.4 m(3) s(-1) whereas PHABSIM predicted relatively high WUA values at discharges up to 2 m(3) s(-1).

Electivity indices provide an insight into discharge selection that is not dependent on hydraulic simulations or assumptions about microhabitat (depth, velocity, substrate) preferences. Moreover, they can be used to assess discharge suitability in hydraulically complex streams where the one-dimensional hydraulic models used by PHABSIM may be inappropriate. However, unlike PHABSIM, they cannot be used to predict the suitability of flows outside observed discharge ranges and so are limited in their application. Further work is required to refine the methodology and assess its transferability to other streams. Nonetheless, indices may represent a useful tool that can be used to complement other methods of assessing instream flow needs. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-395
Number of pages12
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Atlantic salmon
  • spawning
  • discharge electivity index
  • PHABSIM
  • INSTREAM-FLOW
  • HABITAT USE
  • POPULATION REGULATION
  • NORTHEAST ENGLAND
  • BROWN TROUT
  • SALAR L
  • TRUTTA
  • RIVER
  • SUITABILITY
  • CALIFORNIA

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