Work Element B: 157. Sampling in Fish-Bearing Reaches [Variation in Productivity in Headwater Reaches of the Wenatchee Subbasin], Final Report for PNW Research Station.

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We studied variation in productivity in headwater reaches of the Wenatchee subbasin for multiple field seasons with the objective that we could develop methods for monitoring headwater stream conditions at the subcatchment and stream levels, assign a landscape-scale context via the effects of geoclimatic parameters on biological productivity (macroinvertebrates and fish) and use this information to identify how variability in productivity measured in fishless headwaters is transmitted to fish communities in downstream habitats. In 2008, we addressed this final objective. In collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks we found some broad differences in the production of aquatic macroinvertebrates and ... continued below

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18 pages

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Polivka, Karl & Bennett, Rita L. March 31, 2009.

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We studied variation in productivity in headwater reaches of the Wenatchee subbasin for multiple field seasons with the objective that we could develop methods for monitoring headwater stream conditions at the subcatchment and stream levels, assign a landscape-scale context via the effects of geoclimatic parameters on biological productivity (macroinvertebrates and fish) and use this information to identify how variability in productivity measured in fishless headwaters is transmitted to fish communities in downstream habitats. In 2008, we addressed this final objective. In collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks we found some broad differences in the production of aquatic macroinvertebrates and in fish abundance across categories that combine the effects of climate and management intensity within the subbasin (ecoregions). From a monitoring standpoint, production of benthic macroinvertebrates was not a good predictor of drifting macroinvertebrates and therefore might be a poor predictor of food resources available to fish. Indeed, there is occasionally a correlation between drifting macroinvertebrate abundance and fish abundance which suggests that headwater-derived resources are important. However, fish in the headwaters appeared to be strongly food-limited and there was no evidence that fishless headwaters provided a consistent subsidy to fish in reaches downstream. Fish abundance and population dynamics in first order headwaters may be linked with similar metrics further down the watershed. The relative strength of local dynamics and inputs into productivity may be constrained or augmented by large-scale biogeoclimatic control. Headwater streams are nested within watersheds, which are in turn nested within ecological subregions; thus, we hypothesized that local effects would not necessarily be mutually exclusive from large-scale influence. To test this we examined the density of primarily salmonid fishes at several spatial and temporal scales within a major sub-basin of the Columbia River and associations of density with ecoregion and individuals drainages within the sub-basin. We further examined habitat metrics that show positive associations with fish abundance to see if these relationships varied at larger spatial scales. We examined the extent to which headwater fish density and temporal variation in density were correlated between the headwaters and the main tributaries of the sub-basin, and the influence of ecoregion influence on density differences, particularly at wider temporal scales. Finally, we examined demographic parameters such as growth and emigration to determine whether density-dependence differs among ecoregions or whether responses were more strongly influenced by the demography of the local fish population.

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18 pages

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  • Report No.: P111170
  • Grant Number: 37005
  • DOI: 10.2172/962225 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962225
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929505

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  • March 31, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 6:42 p.m.

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Polivka, Karl & Bennett, Rita L. Work Element B: 157. Sampling in Fish-Bearing Reaches [Variation in Productivity in Headwater Reaches of the Wenatchee Subbasin], Final Report for PNW Research Station., report, March 31, 2009; Portland, Oregon. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929505/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.