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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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Across their native ranges, cutthroat trout populations are imperiled due to habitat loss, habitat alteration, and introduction of non-native species (Liknes and Graham 1988, Behnke 1992, Hitt et al. 2003). These changes have not gone undetected and a great deal of time and money have been invested in conservation and restoration of cutthroat trout populations (Kershner 1995, USDA 1996, Young and Harig 2002, Baker et al. 2008). The success of these projects is tightly linked to the ability of resource managers to prioritize management efforts. Specifically, where should the investments of time and money br focused to yield the greatest impact on conservation and restoration. This study proposes to use a relatively new, proven analytical tool, stable isotope analysis, to identify differences in the stable isotope signatures of tributary streams entering Jackson Lake. These differences are translated into the tissues, specifically otolith bones, of cutthroat trout that use these tributaries during early life stages or upon return for spawning (Kennedy et al. 2002, Muhlfeld et al. 2005, Coghlan et al. 2007, Barnett-Johnson et al. 2008, Walther et al. 2008, Ziegler and Whitledge 2010). The ability to link adult trout back to their natal origins and identify where these adults are returning to spawn will provide the data resource managers need to prioritize conservation and restoration efforts in the upper Snake River watershed, with special emphasis on tributary streams entering Jackson Lake.