Assessing avian predation on juvenile salmonids using passive integrated transponder tag recoveries and mark-recapture methods

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Frechette, D., Osterback, A. -M. K., Hayes, S. A., Bond, M. H., Moore, J. W., Shaffer, S. A., & Harvey, J. T. (2012). Assessing avian predation on juvenile salmonids using passive integrated transponder tag recoveries and mark-recapture methods. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 32(6), 1237-1250. doi:10.1080/02755947.2012.728171
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TitleAssessing avian predation on juvenile salmonids using passive integrated transponder tag recoveries and mark-recapture methods
AuthorsD. Frechette, A. Osterback, S. Hayes, M. Bond, J. Moore, S. Shaffer, J. Harvey
AbstractMany populations of coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch and steelhead O. mykiss are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Until recently, the role of avian predation in limiting recovery of coho salmon and steelhead in central California coastal watersheds has been overlooked. We used recoveries of passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags from Año Nuevo Island (ANI), a breeding site for several species of piscivorous seabirds, to estimate predation rates on juvenile salmonids and identify susceptible life stages and species responsible for predation. A total of 34,485 PIT tags were deployed in coho salmon and steelhead in six watersheds in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. Tags were deposited on ANI by predators after ingestion of tagged fish. Because tags were not removed from the island and were detected on multiple sampling occasions, we were able to use mark-recapture models to generate a corrected minimum predation estimate. We used POPAN, a variation of the Jolly-Seber model, to generate an estimate of gross population abundance, which accounted for tags deposited on the island but not detected during surveys. Detections of 196 tags from surveys conducted between autumn 2006 and spring 2009 were incorporated into the model, producing a gross population estimate of 242 tags (SE = 9.8). Addition of tags detected between autumn 2009 and 2010 to the abundance estimate from POPAN produced a new minimum estimate of 362 tags on ANI. Western gulls Larus occidentalis probably were the primary predator depositing tags on ANI. Minimum predation estimates ranged from 0.1% (Soquel Creek) to 4.6% (Waddell Creek) of outmigrating coho salmon and steelhead smolts. Predation was potentially greater given still unquantified deposition of tags off-colony and destruction of tags during digestive processes of predators. Finally, avian predators targeted estuary-reared fish, which contributed disproportionately to adult populations, further impacting imperiled salmon populations. © American Fisheries Society 2012.
JournalNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management
Date2012
Volume32
Issue6
Start page1237
End page1250
ISSN0275-5947
Subjectsavifauna, breeding site, juvenile, mark-recapture method, piscivore, population estimation, population modeling, predation, salmonid, seabird, succession, tagging, watershed, Ano Nuevo Island, California, San Mateo County, Santa Cruz [California], United States, Aves, Larus occidentalis, Oncorhynchus kisutch, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Salmonidae
NoteMarine Mammals, Birds & Turtles, CODEN: NAJMD

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