Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 411–420

First access to territorial space and exposure to strong predation pressure: A conflict in early emerging Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) fry

  • Eva Brännäs


This work aimed to elucidate conflicting factors that may explain the narrow and synchronous emergence in salmonids. Fry are highly vulnerable to predation and stand a better chance of surviving if they emerge synchronously. On the other hand, fry that leave the gravel first should increase their chance of obtaining one of the limited number of feeding territories. The risk involved in early emergence for Atlantic salmon fry was evaluated by exposing them to predatorySalmo trutta. Yolk sac alevins were incubated in an artificial redd in order to catch them by their time of emergence. Early-, peak- and late-emerging fry were then successively marked and transferred to flume tanks in which the predators were either present from the start or not introduced until all fry had been added. When the predators were initially present, the predation pressure differed depending on the time of fry emergence, resulting in survival rates of 11.6, 44.9 and 51% in early-, peak- and late-emerging fry, respectively. By assuming that the predation rate of the three emergence groups was dependent both on time of emergence and fry density the survival rates were calculated to be 7.5, 41.1 and 53.5% in groups I, II and III, respectively. These figures corresponded well to the observed rates. When the predators were added after completed emergence the resulting survival rates were 56.9, 39.7 and 25.2% in early-, peak- and late-emerging fry, respectively. Thus, predation after complete emergence gave a survival probability that varied across the three emergence-date groups, despite being exposed to a predator during the same number of days. The presence of fish predators in combination with a limited territorial space seems to make both early and late emergence hazardous and favours synchronous swimming movements.


Atlantic salmon Salmo salar timing of emergence predation fry alevins functional response 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Brännäs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of AquacultureSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUmeåSweden

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