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Spatial variability in ocean-mediated growth potential is linked to Chinook salmon survival

November 26, 2018

Early ocean survival of Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, varies greatly inter-annually and may be the period during which later spawning abundance and fishery recruitment are set. Therefore, identifying environmental drivers related to early survival may inform better models for management and sustainability of salmon in a variable environment. With this in mind, our main objectives were to (a) identify regions of high temporal variability in growth potential over a 23-year time series, (b) determine whether the spatial distribution of growth potential was correlated with observed oceanographic conditions, and (c) determine whether these spatial patterns in growth potential could be used to estimate juvenile salmon survival. We applied this method to the fall run of the Central Valley Chinook salmon population, focusing on the spring and summer period after emigration into central California coastal waters. For the period from 1988 to 2010, juvenile salmon growth potential on the central California continental shelf was described by three spatial patterns. These three patterns were most correlated with upwelling, detrended sea level anomalies, and the strength of onshore/offshore currents, respectively. Using the annual strength of these three patterns, as well as the overall growth potential throughout central California coastal waters, in a generalized linear model we explained 82% of the variation in juvenile salmon survival estimates. We attributed the relationship between growth potential and survival to variability in environmental conditions experienced by juvenile salmon during their first year at sea, as well as potential shifts in predation pressure following out-migration into coastal waters.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Spatial variability in ocean-mediated growth potential is linked to Chinook salmon survival
DOI 10.1111/fog.12415
Authors Mark J. Henderson, Jerome Fiechter, David D. Huff, Brian K. Wells
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fisheries Oceanography
Index ID 70227759
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle