Anthropogenic and natural size-related selection act in concert during brown trout (Salmo trutta) smolt river descent
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataVis full innførsel
OriginalversjonHydrobiologia, 2020 10.1007/s10750-020-04329-4
By hindering migration and inducing direct turbine mortality during downstream migration, hydropower is regarded as one of the most serious threats to anadromous salmonids. Yet, little attention has been paid to long-term turbine-induced selection mechanisms effecting fish populations. This work evaluates turbine and post-turbine survival of PIT-tagged wild brown trout smolts. By estimating individual river and sea survival rates, we were able to compare survival rates of smolts that had migrated through the turbine with smolts that had bypassed the turbine, as well as investigate both natural and anthropogenic size-selective mechanisms operative on the population. Total river-descent survival probability was 0.20 for turbine migrants and 0.44 for bypass migrants. The surviving turbine migrants were significantly smaller than their bypass counterparts and more exposed to predation from Northern pike. The estimated mean-adjusted selection gradient was − 0.76 for turbine migrants and + 1.85 for the bypass migrants. The resulting disruptive selection may ultimately lead to increased phenotypic smolt size variation provided sufficient additive genetic variance associated with smolt size. Mitigation measures at hydropower plants are thus essential for preserving sustainable populations of anadromous fish and maintaining population genetic variation.