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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13917

Acoustic characterization of juvenile Pacific Salmon distributions along an eco-engineered seawall

Kerry L. Accola*, John K. Horne, Jeffery R. Cordell, Jason D. Toft

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A mobile dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) was used to characterize juvenile Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) daytime use of armored and eco-engineered seawall habitat along an urbanized shoreline in Puget Sound, Washington, USA. Eco-engineering included intertidal benches to elevate the seafloor, a textured seawall to provide refuge and encourage invertebrate colonization, and glass blocks in an overhanging sidewalk to increase ambient light. A doubling of acoustic salmon counts compared to visual surveys demonstrates that the DIDSON multibeam sonar is an effective mobile sampling tool of small fishes (~40 mm – 90 mm) and can be advantageous relative to visual methods depending on research goals, habitats, and ambient light levels. Increased salmon presence in the eco-engineered intertidal corridor relative to traditional seawall and pier habitats showed that the combination of increased light, reduced infrastructure (e.g., pier pilings), increased texture, and a shallower seafloor increases habitat function for juvenile salmon. High densities of juvenile salmon along pier ends show that salmon also use alternative migration pathways, with unknown energetic costs and predations risks.