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INFLUENCE OF INTERACTING STRESSORS ON NATIVE BROOK TROUT IN A WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WATERSHED

Freshwater species have declined throughout their native ranges in part due to habitat fragmentation and invasive species. Information is often lacking, however, about how interactions between these stressors affect certain aspects of native populations. Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are a prime example of a species in decline due to human-related stressors, two of which are fragmentation from abandoned mine drainage (AMD) and competition with non-native brown trout (Salmo trutta). In an ongoing, multi-year study, we are assessing the abundance, behavior, and genetic structure of brook trout in a Pennsylvania watershed fragmented by AMD and scheduled for remediation in 2018. Results from stream surveys show brown trout are absent upstream of AMD but abundant downstream, suggesting that AMD is a chemical barrier to brown trout invasion. This watershed represents a common situation in Pennsylvania—brook trout populations are simultaneously fragmented and “protected” from brown trout invasion by AMD, but remediation could permit brown trout invasion upstream. This balance between isolation and invasion presents a significant management challenge, and our study will help biologists predict likely outcomes under different management scenarios.

Jennifer Graves (Primary Presenter/Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, gravejm10@gmail.com;


David Janetski ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, janetski@iup.edu;


Tom Clark ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Susquehanna River Basic Commission, tclark@srbc.net;


Brianna Hutchinson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Susquehanna River Basic Commission, bhutchinson@sbrc.net;


Kathleen Lavelle ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Trout Unlimited, klavelle@tu.org;


Shawn Rummel ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Trout Unlimited, srummel@tu.org;


Rachel Kester ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Trout Unlimited, rkester@tu.org;