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Title: Size-dependent territoriality of mottled sculpin in a southern Appalachian stream.

Author: Petty, J. Todd; Grossman, Gary D.;

Date: 2009

Source: Transactions of the American Fisheries Society DOI: 10.1577/T06-034.1

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


We quantified the space use behaviors of juvenile and adult mottled sculpin Cottus bairdii over a 3-year period in Shope Fork, western North Carolina. Our objectives were to (1) quantify home range size, (2) determine whether the fish exhibit territorial behaviors, (3) characterize the relative stability of territories, and (4) relate temporal variation in behaviors to environmental variability and population size structure. Adult behaviors were consistent with those of a strongly territorial organism. Adults exhibited nonrandom movements, restricted home ranges, and extremely low levels of spatial overlap with neighboring residents (<10% overlap). Territories were established in erosional microhabitats that were significantly more stable (as measured by seasonal shifts in dominant substrate composition) than randomly selected microhabitats in the study site. In contrast to adults, juveniles did not exhibit evidence of territoriality and instead occupied overlapping home ranges (16-36% overlap) in less-stable, depositional microhabitats along the stream margin. Mottled sculpin home range size, home range overlap, and territory abandonment rate were related to the density of large adults rather than flow variability or microhabitat stability. Adult territoriality and juvenile floating provide behavioral mechanisms capable of producing strong regulation of mottled sculpin populations in this system.

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Petty, J. Todd; Grossman, Gary D. 2007. Size-dependent territoriality of mottled sculpin in a southern Appalachian stream. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 136: 1750-1761. DOI: 10.1577/T06-034.1


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