This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that redd superimposition by salmonine fishes is a consequence of limited habitat availability. We monitored redd site selection by brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) for two spawning seasons in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Redd superimposition rates were high; over one half of the brook trout and one third of the brown trout superimposed redds. We tested the role of habitat availability in this process by characterizing microhabitat at sites with and without redds in four small sections of this stream and then determined whether superimposition could be explained by random dispersal of fish over available habitat. Brown trout preferred spawning sites with high flows whereas brook trout strongly preferred deep sites with upwelling groundwater. No relationship was observed between fish density and superimposition. Additionally, the observed frequency of superimposition was greater than expected by chance in six of eight instances for brown trout and in one of three instances for brook trout. Finally, a behavioral experiment provided direct evidence that females have a behavioral preference to spawn on existing redd sites, suggesting that factors other than habitat may determine redd site selection and hence superimposition.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|State||Published - Oct 1998|