Greig, S.M., Sear, D.A. and Carling, P.A.
A review of factors influencing the availability of dissolved
oxygen to incubating salmonid embryos
Hydrological Processes, 21, (3), . (doi:10.1002/hyp.6188).
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Previous investigations into factors influencing incubation success of salmonid progeny have largely been limited to the
development of empirical relationships between characteristics of the incubation environment and survival to emergence. It is
suggested that adopting a process-based approach to assessing incubation success aids identification of the precise causes of
embryonic mortalities, and provides a robust framework for developing and implementing managerial responses.
Identifying oxygen availability within the incubation environment as a limiting factor, a comprehensive review of trends
in embryonic respiration, and processes influencing the flux of oxygenated water through gravel riverbeds is provided. The
availability of oxygen to incubating salmonid embryos is dependent on the exchange of oxygenated water with the riverbed, and
the ability of the riverbed gravel medium to transport this water at a rate and concentration appropriate to support embryonic
respiratory requirements. Embryonic respiratory trends indicate that oxygen consumption varies with stage of development,
ambient water temperature and oxygen availability. The flux of oxygenated water through the incubation environment is
controlled by a complex interaction of intragravel and extragravel processes and factors. The processes driving the exchange
of channel water with gravel riverbeds include bed topography, bed permeability, and surface roughness effects. The flux
of oxygenated water through riverbed gravels is controlled by gravel permeability, coupling of surface–subsurface flow and
oxygen demands imposed by materials infiltrating riverbed gravels. Temporally and spatially variable inputs of groundwater
can also influence the oxygen concentration of interstitial water.
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