Main content area

Behaviour and physiology of sockeye salmon homing through coastal waters to a natal river

Crossin, Glenn T., Hinch, Scott G., Cooke, Steven J., Welch, David W., Batten, Sonia D., Patterson, David A., Van Der Kraak, Glen, Shrimpton, J. Mark, Farrell, Anthony P.
Marine biology 2007 v.152 no.4 pp. 905-918
Oncorhynchus nerka, Tabanidae, acoustics, adults, blood chemistry, chlorides, coastal water, continental shelf, energy density, enzyme activity, females, glucose, lactic acid, males, migratory behavior, osmolality, potassium, rivers, salmon, streams, summer, telemetry, testosterone, British Columbia
Adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, N = 179) from six Fraser River populations (British Columbia) were intercepted in continental shelf waters ∼215 km from the Fraser River mouth, gastrically implanted with acoustic transmitters, non-lethally biopsied for blood biochemistry, gill Na⁺,K⁺-ATPase activity and somatic energy density and then released. Migration behaviour and travel times to the river mouth and into the river were monitored by underwater telemetry receivers positioned at the river mouth and in the river. Post-release survival of salmon was excellent, with 84% (N = 150) of fish reaching the furthest receiving station ∼85 km upriver. Fish from Late-summer run populations (Adams and Weaver Creek) averaged a migration rate of ∼20 km day⁻¹ through the marine area and held at the river mouth and adjacent areas for 7–9 days before entering the river. Summer-run populations (Birkenhead, Chilko, Horsefly and Stellako) had a migration rate ∼33 km day⁻¹ and held for only 1–3 days. Once in river, similar patterns were observed: Late-run populations migrated at ∼28 km day⁻¹ and Summer-run populations at ∼40 km day⁻¹. From point of release to the river mouth, males migrated faster than females, but once in river migration rates did not differ between sexes. Among all females, a correlation was discovered between levels of circulating testosterone and river entry timing. This correlation was not observed among males. Plasma K⁺, Cl⁻, glucose, lactate and osmolality were also correlated with entry timing in both sexes.