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RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF YOUNG OF THE YEAR BROOK TROUT AND INTERANNUAL CLIMATE VARIATION IN PENNSYLVANIA

Climate fluctuations can have widespread effects on reproductive success, potentially altering the demographics and viability of animal populations. In streams, extreme summer temperatures coupled with substrate scouring during rain events can reduce survival of young-of-the year (YOY) fish, but these mechanisms have seldom been examined over multiple years across state management regions. We aimed to identify inter-annual regulators of fish populations by testing for relationships between the relative abundance of YOY brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and climatic conditions. Brook trout data were collected from over 600 streams across Pennsylvania by participants in Pennsylvania’s Unassessed Waters Initiative Data from 2010-2017, and seasonal climate data were obtained from regional airports. Relative abundance of YOY brook trout varied dramatically (17-66%), and preliminary analysis shows strong negative relationships with winter and spring precipitation and no relationship with temperature. One possible explanation for our findings is that extreme rain events during egg incubation in the substrate reduces recruitment of YOY fish. If this is the case, we predict negative impacts on fish populations in regions with more extreme winter and spring rain events due to climate change.

Lauren Prasko (Primary Presenter/Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, laurenprasko@gmail.com;


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


Aiden Simpson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, c-asimpson@pa.gov;