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Light-mediated predation by northern squawfish on juvenile Chinook salmon

December 1, 1994

Northern squawfish Ptychocheilus oregonensis cause significant mortality of juvenile salmon in the lower Columbia River Basin (U.S.A.). The effects of light intensity on this predator-prey interaction were examined with laboratory experiments and modelling studies. In laboratory experiments, the rate of capture of subyearling chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha by northern squawfish was inversely related to light intensity. In a large raceway, about five times more salmon were captured during 4 h periods of relative darkness (0–03 Ix) than during periods with high light intensity (160 Ix). The rate of predation could be manipulated by increasing or decreasing light intensity.

A simulation model was developed for visual predators that encounter, attack, and capture juvenile salmon, whose schooling behaviour was light-sensitive. The model was fitted to laboratory results using a Monte Carlo filtering procedure. Model-predicted predation rate was especially sensitive to the visual range of predators at low light intensity and to predator search speed at high light. Modelling results also suggested that predation by northern squawfish on juvenile salmon may be highest across a narrow window of fight intensity.

Publication Year 1994
Title Light-mediated predation by northern squawfish on juvenile Chinook salmon
DOI 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1994.tb01095.x
Authors James H. Petersen, Dena M. Gadomski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Fish Biology
Index ID 70180421
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center