3 years ago

Migration and movement profiles of a potadromous fish (Brachymystax lenok Pallas 1773) in a highly connected river system (Mongolia)

Abstract

Understanding a species’ spatial and temporal movements along with the way these shift under extreme environmental conditions is vital for developing scientifically sound conservation and management strategies. The aim of this research was to describe and quantify the seasonal migration patterns and fine‐scale movement profiles of Brachymystax lenok, a threatened, potadromous salmonid that inhabits the highly connected, boreal river basins of Siberia and northern Asia. During this study 21 mature individuals were monitored over a 15 month period in the upper Eroo River basin, Mongolia, using passive acoustic telemetry. Mean (±SD) B. lenok home ranges were 19.1 ± 15.1 km (median = 11.5 km), with maximum longitudinal movements detected > 45.3 km. Two periods of increased movements were identified; the first in late summer/early autumn when 10 Blenok moved into deeper, overwintering pools, with the second period occurring in late spring and early summer when nine B. lenok were detected entering the surrounding tributaries. Diel activity and depth typically increased during daylight hours followed by decreased activity or resting periods in shallower river sections at night. These results highlight the need to maintain a high level of river connectivity and adequate fishing season closures by implementing and enforcing an expansive spatiotemporal management plan that can better protect and recover the Mongolian B. lenok populations. Such measures should be transferable to other threatened, potadromous fish species residing throughout the world's boreal river basins.

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