From thesis to an accepted research paper!
Our previous master student Ainslie Nash is officially a first author on an incredible research paper in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science!
As part of our LaKES project in the Vosso river system, Ainslie conducted a study tagging 45 salmon smolt and 27 Brown trout employed with depth sensor to collect data on how these two species used the water column throughout lake Evanger. Brown trout is a species that has been identified as a major predator and source of mortality for juvenile salmon migrating towards the sea. The predator-prey relationship was indeed found in this study, with the salmon smolts appearing to prefer slightly deeper waters to the trout. This may be an example of the salmon smolts exhibiting risk management behaviour, in which the fish are choosing to remain in deeper, darker waters to avoid their predators.
Over the course of the study period, this risk averse behaviour was observed to change in relation to external environmental impacts. Greater hours of daylight, higher water temperature and increased flow rate may have spurred these salmon into riskier behaviour as they attempted to navigate their way through lake Evanger and continue on their migration path. The high mortality of salmon potentially demonstrates the effectiveness of trout as a smolt predator and the challenge that lakes represent to migrating salmon smolts.
Overall, this was an excellent study for our masters student Ainslie to undertake, providing him with a plethora of practical and digital skills that will help advance his career in the world of telemetry and aquatic science. A big thank you to everyone who contributed and got involved in this study. You can check out this paper, as well as all our published papers, in the publication list on the website.