Understanding variation in the freshwater production of Atlantic salmon across its range is a critical aspect of the species' conservation, restoration, and management. We focus on how environmental factors operate at four hierarchical scales (region, watershed, reach, local habitat) to influence the production and survivorship of juvenile salmon and the production of their invertebrate food base. Using published, quantitative information about invertebrate production in small, cold streams characteristic of Altantic salmon nursery streams, we estimate expected maximum salmon production will be ca. 9 (range 6-22) g wet mass · m-2 · year-1, which compares favorably with reported literature values of <1 to 17 g · m-2. We highlight some empirically based, shortcut approaches to estimating invertebrate production that may be particularly useful for evaluating salmonid production across a range of scales. We also consider how availability of invertebrate prey may influence salmon production. As a synthesis, we integrate existing information into a multi-scale framework by making qualitative predictions (hypotheses) about expected patterns of invertebrate and salmon production at different habitat scales. We then develop quantitative, heuristic scenarios that predict (hypothesize) how salmon and invertebrate production will change in response to selected physicochemical and non-trophic habitat limitations operating at the watershed (geology, land use) and reach (channel form, canopy) scales. Predicted values, which fall within the range of observed values for Atlantic salmon streams, demonstrate that a multi-scale habitat perspective can provide important insights into local to regional variation in the production of Atlantic salmon across its range and thus contribute to Atlantic salmon conservation, restoration, and management.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|