Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 905–918 | Cite as

Behaviour and physiology of sockeye salmon homing through coastal waters to a natal river

  • Glenn T. CrossinEmail author
  • Scott G. Hinch
  • Steven J. Cooke
  • David W. Welch
  • Sonia D. Batten
  • David A. Patterson
  • Glen Van Der Kraak
  • J. Mark Shrimpton
  • Anthony P. Farrell
Research Article


Adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, N = 179) from six Fraser River populations (British Columbia) were intercepted in continental shelf waters ∼215 km from the Fraser River mouth, gastrically implanted with acoustic transmitters, non-lethally biopsied for blood biochemistry, gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity and somatic energy density and then released. Migration behaviour and travel times to the river mouth and into the river were monitored by underwater telemetry receivers positioned at the river mouth and in the river. Post-release survival of salmon was excellent, with 84% (N = 150) of fish reaching the furthest receiving station ∼85 km upriver. Fish from Late-summer run populations (Adams and Weaver Creek) averaged a migration rate of ∼20 km day−1 through the marine area and held at the river mouth and adjacent areas for 7–9 days before entering the river. Summer-run populations (Birkenhead, Chilko, Horsefly and Stellako) had a migration rate ∼33 km day−1 and held for only 1–3 days. Once in river, similar patterns were observed: Late-run populations migrated at ∼28 km day−1 and Summer-run populations at ∼40 km day−1. From point of release to the river mouth, males migrated faster than females, but once in river migration rates did not differ between sexes. Among all females, a correlation was discovered between levels of circulating testosterone and river entry timing. This correlation was not observed among males. Plasma K+, Cl, glucose, lactate and osmolality were also correlated with entry timing in both sexes.


Testosterone River Mouth Sockeye Salmon Natal River Entry Timing 
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Many thanks are extended to M. Lapointe, J. Hills, the skipper and crew of the Sunfisher, R. Alexander, L. Crossin, K. English, T. Watson and G. Wagner. Logistic support was provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Environmental Watch Program, and by the Census of Marine Life. Financial support was provided through NSERC Discovery and Strategic Grants to S.G.H., A.P.F. and G.V.D.K. G.T.C. was supported by an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-D3).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn T. Crossin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Scott G. Hinch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Steven J. Cooke
    • 3
  • David W. Welch
    • 4
  • Sonia D. Batten
    • 4
  • David A. Patterson
    • 5
  • Glen Van Der Kraak
    • 6
  • J. Mark Shrimpton
    • 7
  • Anthony P. Farrell
    • 8
  1. 1.Centre for Applied Conservation Research and Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Resources, Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Kintama Research Corp.NanaimoCanada
  5. 5.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Cooperative Resource Management InstituteSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  6. 6.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  7. 7.Department of BiologyUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  8. 8.Department of Zoology and Faculty of Land and Food SystemsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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