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Early Stuart sockeye salmon metapopulation data

Citation

Bradford, Mike; Braun, Douglas (2021), Early Stuart sockeye salmon metapopulation data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.z34tmpg9q

Abstract

There is a need to explicitly consider metapopulation dynamics in the development of conservation strategies for spatially-structured populations. We examined the spatial dynamics of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) that spawn in 36 streams of the Stuart River watershed in British Columbia, Canada, using a 69-year record of spawner abundance and a demographically-based Bayesian dynamic occupancy model. We identified a set of 12 streams with good habitat conditions that were occupied >90% of years despite large year-to-year changes in abundance. Over 85% of spawners were concentrated in these streams. Many other streams with poorer habitat had small populations that were not persistent over time and were periodically recolonized by dispersers from other streams. Although it is often assumed population diversity and resiliency is maximized when all available habitats are used, for this salmon metapopulation, resiliency is due to the core streams of higher habitat quality. Currently other streams make only small contributions to population abundance, however, some may have conservation value if their habitats become more suitable for spawning in the future.

Methods

Data is comprised of observations of spawning salmon made by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Details of the data collected are provided in the Supplement to Bradford and Braun.

Usage Notes

See Readme file