Physical habitat is important in determining the carrying capacity of juvenile brown trout, and within freshwater management. Summer daytime physical habitat selection for the parr lifestage (7–20 cm) juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta) was assessed in 6 small lowland streams. Habitat preference was determined for the four variables; water velocity, water depth, substrate and cover, and the preferences for physical habitat selection were expressed in terms of habitat suitability indices (HSI’s). The statistical confidence of HSI’s was evaluated using power analysis. It was found that a minimum of 22 fish observations was needed to have statistical confidence in the HSIs for water depth, and a minimum of 92 fish observations for water velocity during daytime summer conditions. Generally parr were utilising the deeper habitats, indicating preference for deeper water. Cover was also being selected for at all sites, but selection was inconsistent among sites for the variables substrate and velocity. The results indicate that during daytime summer conditions water depth is a significant variable for parr habitat selection in these small lowland streams, with cover also being important. Therefore, daytime refugia may be a critical limiting factor for parr in small lowland streams, and important for stream management actions under the Water Framework Directive.
- Daytime refugia
- Habitat selection
- Habitat suitability indices
- Water management
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources