Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Wayne A. Wurtsbaugh


Bear Lake sculpin (Cottus extensus) exhibited an ontogenetic habitat shift during their first year of life. Soon after hatching in the littoral zone, the fry swam to the surface where they dispersed throughout the lake. Most juveniles that initially settled in the profundal zone returned to the littoral zone during their first summer. Patterns in the daily growth increments of otoliths confirmed the history of habitat residence and the individual size at the habitat switch. We used this habitat shift to test a μ/g model incorporating a growth rate-mortality risk trade-off. A trade-off occurred in the littoral zone because both growth rate and mortality risk were greater in this habitat. Given initial profundal residence, the directed movement of juveniles to the more profitable littoral zone was consistent with model predictions. Contrary to model predictions, juvenile sculpin initially occupied both habitats and switched habitats at a wide range of sizes. lack of a discrete switch size may have resulted, in part, from the lack of a strong trade-off or from an inability of fish to respond facultatively to environmental variables at the large spatial scale of this system.



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