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Predator and prey events at the entrance of a surface‐oriented fish collector at North Fork Dam, Oregon

December 1, 2020

Quantifiable estimates of predator–prey interactions and relationships in aquatic habitats are difficult to obtain and rare, especially when individuals cannot be readily observed. To overcome this observational impediment, imaging sonar was used to assess the cooccurrence of predator‐size fish and juvenile salmonids, Oncorhynchus spp., at the entrance to a floating surface collector (FSC) in the forebay of North Fork Dam on the Clackamas River, Oregon (USA). Imaging sonar can be used to transform active sound waves into visual data, making it possible to obtain continuous underwater observations on the presence and interspecific interactions between predator‐size fish and prey (juvenile salmonids). Hourly counts of smolt‐size fish tracks, diel phase, water clarity and river discharge were used as covariates within a zero‐inflated Poisson model to determine how these factors may influence the number of predators in front of the FSC. Both the number of smolt‐size fish tracks and diel phase had the strongest effects on the number of predator‐size fish tracks, with more predator‐size fish tracks observed during the daytime, and as the number of smolt‐size fish tracks increased. Additionally, the presence of predator‐size fish may affect the abundance and direction of travel of juvenile salmonids, as fewer smolt‐size fish were observed when predators were present, and a greater proportion of smolt‐size fish were observed travelling away from the FSC when predator‐size fish were present. This study provides estimates of predator and prey fish abundance in the vicinity of surface collection systems at moderate‐sized hydropower projects and could help resource managers better understand mechanisms that can influence the survival and passage behaviour of juvenile salmonids using surface collection structures at dams.

Publication Year 2021
Title Predator and prey events at the entrance of a surface‐oriented fish collector at North Fork Dam, Oregon
DOI 10.1111/fme.12465
Authors Collin Smith, John Plumb, Noah S. Adams, Garth J Wyatt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fisheries Management and Ecology
Index ID 70218760
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center