By Simone Vincenzi, Alain J. Crivelli, Dusan Jesensek, Jean-Francois Rubin, Gilles Poizat, Giulio A. De leo
Biological Conservation, Volume 141, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 198-210, ISSN 0006-3207, DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.09.013.

While several population viability analyses (PVAs) have been performed on anadromous salmonids, less attention has been given to stream-living salmonids. In this work, we explore the role of PVA as a tool in the recovery of threatened stream-living salmonid species. The analysis has been performed with reference to marble trout Salmo marmoratus, a salmonid with a limited geographic distribution and at risk of extinction due to hybridization with the non-native introduced brown trout. Demographic parameters, such as survival, fecundity and density-dependent patterns were estimated from an eight year on-going monitoring program of two translocated marble trout populations in pristine, previously fishless streams (Zakojska and Gorska) in the Soca and Idrijca river basins (Slovenia). To explore the importance of disturbance events such as floods on marble trout population dynamics, we performed a PVA under three scenarios: (1) occurrence of both severe and moderate floods; (2) occurrence of only moderate floods; (3) no flood events. Our analysis shows that population viability is threatened only by severe flood events, otherwise the two populations prove to be fairly stable with population abundance fluctuating around stream carrying capacity. A sensitivity analysis performed on model parameters highlighted that density-dependence in first-year survival and the magnitude of reduction in population size after a severe flood are the two most crucial parameters affecting population abundance and quasi-extinction probability, respectively. While only extreme floods can drive the population to extinction, the increase in juvenile survival when population abundance collapses after a major flood may allow the populations to quickly recover from few reproductive individuals back to stream carrying capacity.
Keywords: Population viability analysis; Sensitivity analysis; Density-dependent survival; Population dynamics; Population recovery

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