Publication Date

2020

First Advisor

Marney Pratt

Second Advisor

Benjamin Letcher

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Biological Sciences

Keywords

Bayesian modelling, Capture-mark-recapture, Survival, Population ecology, Stream fish, Stream network, Climate change

Abstract

In the Northeastern United States, freshwater fish are being threatened with potential local extinctions due to variable climate conditions and ongoing anthropogenic impacts. Native to the Northeast, brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are becoming more vulnerable to changing environmental conditions as their biotic interactions with non-native brown trout (Salmo trutta) increase in competition for limited resources. The objective of this thesis is to explore the process of ecological modeling and its potential applications when researching the relationship between brown and brook trout, specifically in a long-term sampled stream (West Brook, Massachusetts, U.S.A.). A Cormack Jolly Seber survival model was initially developed using R (R Core Team 2013) and JAGS (Plummer 2003) to correlate and model brown and brook trout capture-mark-recapture data within the stream. This takes into account climate conditions, such as stream temperature and flow regime changes, that would greatly impact the survival rates of both trout species. This model was then used to simulate a power analysis of two simulated species and their survival parameters based on the minimum required number of marked individuals needed to estimate survival accurately in a catch and release study. Results from this experiment suggest that this model can be utilized to compare the West Brook stream trout and factors influencing survival along with other similar investigations.

Rights

©2020 Julia Kreth Barron. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.

Language

English

Comments

41 pages : color graph. Includes bibliographical references (pages 35-38)

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