• Growth, foraging behavior and distribution of age-0 Arctic grayling in an Alaskan stream

      Dion, Cheryl Ann (2002-12)
      I evaluated the ability of three models to relate habitat characteristics to habitat quality for age-0 Arctic grayling Thymallullus arcticus in an Alaska stream. A temperature-based growth model made accurate predictions, showing it can reliably assess thermal habitat quality. Deviations between predicted and observed growth were useful because they identified the timing of possible critical periods, when competition for food or space may cause density-dependent mortality and emigration. A foraging model consistently overestimated the mean prey size of fish, showing that such models need further work before then can accurately assess food availability from invertebrate drift. A habitat selection model accurately predicted small fish would occupy the stream margins and the ontogenetic shift into faster, deeper water, but its detailed predictions for larger fish were not very precise. These models were useful tools for assessing habitat quality and gave insight into possible interactions between habitat characteristics and population dynamics.