Carry-over effects in the estuary ecology of juvenile sockeye salmon.
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) are a culturally, economically,
and ecologically important species that have been experiencing declines in the productivity of numerous populations. As migratory anadromous species, salmon rely on estuarine stop-over habitat during their seaward migration. During this transitionary phase of the salmon life cycle, estuaries likely play a key role in salmon adaptation and survival, providing a range of salinities, resources and habitat for (i) physiological transition to saline conditions, (ii) juvenile growth, and (iii) refuge from predation. The ability of juveniles to perform in and adapt to estuary conditions likely depends on the condition of the fish before entering the estuary, but this link has not yet been extensively studied. My research will investigate the carry-over effect of juvenile fish condition before entering the estuary by linking field and laboratory studies. For example, wild-caught juveniles with varying body condition will be challenged in different laboratory studies of salinity preference and swim performance. I hope that these studies shed light on connections among the habitats that underpin the migratory life-cycle of salmon.
Learn more about my work via my website.