Spatial and temporal variation of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in three westlope cutthroat trout tributaries in the Rocky Mountains

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) is an important subspecies to Alberta, as a representative of a rich and diverse fish taxon that intrinsically holds many local adaptations to their native range. The reduction of westslope cutthroat trout from their historical range to isolated headwaters is mainly a result of the introduction of nonnative salmonids (ex. Oncorhynchus mykiss) and consequent genetic introgression. This study aims to describe and
    determine factors affecting benthic communities in three Rocky Mountain tributaries in Alberta associated with pure strains of westslope cutthroat trout. Benthic macroinvertebrate collection and environmental analysis of streams were conducted every two weeks from June to August of 2014 and once in September, 2014. Macroinvertebrates were collected along 5 different transects at 50 m intervals in each stream. The samples were sorted, preserved, identified to the genus level, and weighed. The results of taxonomic diversity, macroinvertebrate density, and biomass show temporal and spatial differences in the three streams. Further, the relationship between macroinvertebrate taxa and environmental parameters are discussed. The three tributaries studied
    (Blairmore Creek, Gold Creek, and Daisy Creek) represent critical habitat for remaining populations of westslope cutthroat trout. Describing the macroinvertebrate communities and the environmental factors that influence these communities is essential in establishing criteria for suitable habitat available for westslope cutthroat trout.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International