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This paper advances understanding of the role of swimming dynamics and unsettled flow in the habitat selection of juvenile Atlantic salmon in a realistic hydrodynamic environment. Average velocities and turbulence intensities were within the range used to construct the swimming cost model of Enders et al. furthermore all hydrodynamic variables were within an order of magnitude of those reported in gravel-bed. Researches revealed that disturbance (turbulence) and swimming dynamics do affect position choice. The results of permutation tests and ZINB modeling using a turbulent swimming cost model supported the hypothesis that the fish would select locations that minimized swimming cost.
In order to understand the effect of these parameters practical’s were performed in a 2 m long section of an outdoor flume at the International Centre for Eco hydraulics Research (ICER), University of Southampton. The flume was having 2 m width and 60 meters length with a trapezoidal cross-section and a concrete bed. The apparatus section and setup was covered with a heavy canvass tent sheet in order to avoid rains as it was in outdoor. In order to achieve the natural habitat, test conditions were modified to achieve the desired habitat. For this purpose transparent plastic hemispheres that were fixed to the bottom of the stream channel to achieve the desired habitat. Transparent habitat features were used to or the reduction of the probability of fish responding to optical cues. Further reduction was carried out by performing the experiment in darkness in order to achieve all conditions. The rate of discharge and depth of flow were constant throughout the experiment. The flow depth was set to be within the natural range of depths reported to be used by juvenile Atlantic salmon. During the experiments, water temperature was maintained at 15 °C (± 0. 1 °C). Instantaneous water velocities at set locations around the hemispheres were measured with a 3-D acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) at a frequency of 25 Hz for 90 s, providing a highly resolved characterization of the turbulent flow. This frequency and record length has been shown to be optimal in gravel-bed Rivers. Velocities were measured at 20-24 mm above the bottom of the flume. The results revealed that how the hydraulic component of habitat models may be improved by following small amendments and modifications.
Future research should investigate the precision of likelihoods made using this model in field settings that are likely to include a wider range of hydraulic conditions than studied here. A similar approach could be applicable to other species but relationships between flow and SC are likely to be species-specific. Turbulence may also be implicated in the energetic intake component of forage-based models for drift-feeding fish, in terms of the spatiotemporal variability in prey concentration and capture rates.
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