Timing matters: Species-specific interactions between spawning time, substrate quality, and recruitment success in three salmonid species

Katharina Sternecker, Marco Denic, Juergen Geist

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung

35 Zitate (Scopus)


Substratum quality and oxygen supply to the interstitial zone are crucial for the reproductive success of salmonid fishes. At present, degradation of spawning grounds due to fine sediment deposition and colmation are recognized as main factors for reproductive failure. In addition, changes in water temperatures due to climate change, damming, and cooling water inlets are predicted to reduce hatching success. We tested the hypothesis that the biological effects of habitat degradation depend strongly on the species-specific spawning seasons and life-history strategies (e.g., fall- vs. spring-spawners, migratory vs. resident species) and assessed temperature as an important species-specific factor for hatching success within river substratum. We studied the species-specific differences in their responses to such disturbances using egg-to-fry survival of Danube Salmon (Hucho hucho), resident brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), and migratory brown trout (Salmo trutta lacustris) as biological endpoint. The egg incubation and hatching success of the salmonids and their dependence on temperature and stream substratum quality were compared. Hatching rates of Danube salmon were lower than of brown trout, probably due to higher oxygen demands and increased interstitial respiration in spring. Increases in maximum water temperature reduced hatching rates of resident and migratory brown trout (both fall-spawners) but were positively correlated with hatching rates of Danube salmon (a spring-spawner). Significantly longer incubation periods of resident and migratory brown trout coincided with relatively low stream substratum quality at the end of the egg incubation. Danube salmon seem to avoid low oxygen concentrations in the hyporheic zone by faster egg development favored by higher water temperatures. Consequently, the prediction of effects of temperature changes and altered stream substratum properties on gravel-spawning fishes and biological communities should consider the observed species-specific variances in life-history strategies to increase conservation success.

Seiten (von - bis)2749-2758
FachzeitschriftEcology and Evolution
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Juli 2014


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