ESR 14:79-89 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00343

Osmoregulatory, metabolic, and nutritional condition of summer-run male Chinook salmon in relation to their fate and migratory behavior in a regulated river

Caleb T. Hasler1,*, Michael R. Donaldson2, Rana P. B. Sunder1, Esther Guimond3, David A. Patterson4, Brent Mossop5, Scott G. Hinch2, Steven J. Cooke

1Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada
2Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
3Guimond Environmental Consulting, 473 Leighton Ave., Courtenay, British Columbia V9N 2Z5, Canada
4Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada
5BC Hydro, 6911 Southpoint Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia V3N 4X8, Canada

ABSTRACT: We studied the migratory success of male summer-run Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in the Puntledge River on Canada’s Vancouver Island over a 3 yr period using biotelemetry and non-lethal physiological biopsy. Principal component analysis was used to group co-varying physiological variables prior to comparing fish with different migratory behaviors (e.g. migration rate, holding times) and fate (migration and spawning success). Fish with low levels of endogenous energy stores (total protein, cholesterol, and triglycerides) and dietary minerals (calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus) at the time of sampling were found to subsequently ascend the most upstream natural barrier (Nib Falls) significantly faster than fish with higher levels. Fate was weakly associated with several physiological characteristics; successful migrants had significantly higher hematocrit values and significantly lower plasma K+ relative to failed migrants, suggesting that fish condition at river entry can influence subsequent behavior. Our results indicate that physiological and nutritional condition can influence adult migrating male summer-run Chinook salmon, but we did not find a physiological profile that could explain all behaviors and fates observed. This study represents one of the first to apply conservation physiology tools to study an imperiled river fish population.


KEY WORDS: Pacific  salmon · Biotelemetry · Physiology · Spawning migration · Anthropogenic effects


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Cite this article as: Hasler CT, Donaldson MR, Sunder RPB, Guimond E and others (2011) Osmoregulatory, metabolic, and nutritional condition of summer-run male Chinook salmon in relation to their fate and migratory behavior in a regulated river. Endang Species Res 14:79-89

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