Date of Award:

2003

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Watershed Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Chris Luecke

Abstract

Ecological traits of the endemic Bear Lake whitefish Prosoopium abyssicola and the Bonneville whitefish prosopium silonotus were investigated. Spatial distributions indicated distinctive differences in depth contour preference. Catch per unit effort data indicated that Bonneville whitefish prefer shallow depths and warmer water temperatures, whereas Bear Lake whitefish prefer deep, cold water.

Diet differences between the two species were large. Differences in both age distribution and growth rate patterns were also observed. The Bonneville whitefish population was predominantly composed of juvenile age classes. Very large adults reached ages of 12-14 years. Bear Lake whitefish exhibited a different population structure with few young fish and larger proportions of older age classes. Some of these fish were aged over 35 years old. Both analyses suggest that the population structure of each species is the result of a stable or growing population.

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