Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 241–251 | Cite as

The effects of experimental energy depletion on the physiological condition and survival of adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) during spawning migration

  • Patrick S. Nadeau
  • Scott G. HinchEmail author
  • Kimberly A. Hruska
  • Lucas B. Pon
  • David A. Patterson


In 2005 and 2006, adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) were captured en route to spawning grounds and placed in either a slow (∼ 0.1 m·s−1) or fast (∼0.4 m·s−1) water velocity treatment for 18 days in order to assess how migrational energy depletion during the final stages of maturation affected physiological condition and survival. Fish in the fast treatment utilized more energy than the slow treatment in 2005 (0.91 MJ kg−1 vs. 0.43 MJ kg−1; P = 0.010), and 2006 (0.72 MJ kg−1 vs. 0.37 MJ kg−1; P = 0.021). Non-treatment fish captured upon arrival at spawning grounds showed energy levels intermediate to the two treatments in 2005 and lower than both in 2006, suggesting that energy use during the treatments were within levels normally experienced by this population. No differences in survival were found between treatments (P > 0.05), although females had lower survival than males in both years (both P < 0.01). After 18 days, surviving fish from the fast treatment showed signs of elevated physiological stress relative to fish from the slow treatment. Specifically, plasma osmolality was lower in fast fish in 2005 (P < 0.001), as was plasma chloride in both years (both P < 0.02). In 2006, plasma lactate was higher (P = 0.014) in fast fish. Within the ranges of energetic depletion that were examined here, a more energy-intensive migration can have a substantial influence on the physiological condition and stress of adult sockeye salmon, but not on survival.


Pacific salmon Physiological stress Energy Upstream migration Survival 



The authors would like to extend thanks to A. Lotto for field and lab assistance, J. Hills, J. Garries, K. Dales, and M. Shrimpton, for conducting the physiological assays, and to S. Latham and M. Reichardt for stock identification work. Thanks are also extended to the Chehalis First Nation Band for their assistance with fish capture. Funding for this study was provided by a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) postgraduate scholarship to P. Nadeau, an NSERC Discovery grant to S. Hinch, and an NSERC Strategic grant to S. Hinch, A. Farrell, M. Healey, and G. Van Der Kraak. Logistic and financial support was also provided by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Fraser River Environment Watch Program.


  1. Beamish FWH (1978) Swimming capacity. In: Hoar WS, Randall DJ (eds) Fish Physiology, vol 7. Academic, New York, pp 101–186Google Scholar
  2. Bernatchez L, Dodson JJ (1987) Relationship between bioenergetics and behaviour in anadromous fish migrations. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 44:399–407. doi: 10.1139/f87-049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brett JR (1995) Energetics. In: Groot C, Margolis L, Clarke C (eds) Physiological ecology of Pacific salmon. UBC Press, Vancouver, Canada, pp 1–68Google Scholar
  4. Cabin RJ, Mitchell RJ (2000) To Bonferroni or not to Bonferroni: when and how are the questions. Bull Ecol Soc Am 81:246–248. doi: 10.1890/0012-9623(2000)081[0223:C]2.0.CO;2 Google Scholar
  5. Carruth LL, Jones RE, Norris DO (2002) Stress and Pacific salmon: a new look at the role of cortisol in olfaction and home-stream migration. Int Comp Biol 42:574–581. doi: 10.1093/icb/42.3.574 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cooke SJ, Crossin GT, Patterson DA, English KK, Hinch SG, Young JL, Alexander RF, Healey MC, Van Der Kraak G, Farrell AP (2005) Coupling non-invasive physiological assessments with telemetry to understand inter-individual variation in behaviour and survivorship of sockeye salmon: development and validation of a technique. J Fish Biol 67:1342–1358. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2005.00830.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooke SJ, Hinch SG, Farrell AP, Patterson DA, Miller-Saunders K, Welch DW, Donaldson MR, Hanson KC, Crossin GT, Olsson I, Cooperman MS, Hruska K, Wagner GN, Thompson R, English KK (2008) Developing a mechanistic understanding of fish migrations by linking telemetry with physiology, behavior, genomics and experimental biology: an interdisciplinary case study on adult Fraser River sockeye salmon. Fisheries 33:321–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crossin GT, Hinch SG, Farrell AP, Higgs DA, Lotto AG, Oakes JD, Healey MC (2004) Energetics and morphology of sockeye salmon: effects of upriver migratory distance and elevation. J Fish Biol 65:788–810. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00486.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crossin GT, Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Welch DW, Batten SD, Patterson DA, Van Der Kraak G, Shrimpton JM, Farrell AP (2007) Behaviour and physiology of sockeye salmon homing through coastal waters to a natal river. Mar Biol 152:905–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crossin GT, Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Welch DW, Lotto AG, Patterson DA, Leggatt RA, Mathes MT, Shrimpton JM, Van Der Kraak G, Farrell AP (2008) Exposure to high temperature influences the behaviour, physiology, and survival of sockeye salmon during spawning migrations. Can J Zool 86:127–140. doi: 10.1139/Z07-122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Farrell AP, Gallaugher P, Clarke C, DeLury N, Kreiberg H, Parkhouse W, Routledge R (2000) Physiological status of Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) captured in commercial nonretention fisheries. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 57:1668–1678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farrell AP, Gallaugher PE, Fraser J, Pike D (2001) Successful recovery of the physiological status of Coho Salmon on board a commercial gillnet vessel by means of a newly designed revival box. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 58:1932–1946. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-57-8-1668 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Farrell AP, Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Patterson DA, Crossin GT, Lapointe M, Mathes MT (2008) Pacific salmon in hot water: applying metabolic scope models and biotelemetry to predict the success of spawning migrations. Physiol Biochem Zool 81:697–708. doi: 10.1086/592057 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gable J, Cox-Rogers S (1993) Stock identification of Fraser River sockeye salmon: methodology and management application. Pac Sal Comm Tech Rep 5:1–36Google Scholar
  15. Gilhousen P (1990) Prespawning mortalities of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River system and possible causal factors. Int Pac Sal Fish Comm Bull 26:1–58Google Scholar
  16. Groot C, Margolis L (1991) Pacific salmon life histories. UBC Press, Vancouver, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  17. Higgs DA, Markert JR, MacQuarrie DW, McBride JR, Dosanjh BS, Nichols C, Hoskins G (1979) Development of practical dry diets for Coho Salmon using poultry-by-product meal, feather meal, soybean meal and rapeseed meal as major protein sources. In: Halver JE, Tiews K (eds) Finfish Nutrition and Fishfeed Technology. Heenemann Verlagsgesellschaft MbH, Berlin, pp 3–68Google Scholar
  18. Hinch SG (2009) Overview and Synthesis: Early Migration and Premature Mortality in Fraser River Late-run sockeye salmon. In: Hinch SG, Gardner J (eds) Conference on Early Migration and Premature Mortality in Fraser River Late-Run sockeye salmon: Proceedings. Vancouver, BC. Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, Vancouver, pp. 8–14Google Scholar
  19. Hinch SG, Rand PS (2000) Optimal swimming speeds and forward-assisted propulsion: energy-conserving behaviours of upriver-migrating adult salmon. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 57:2470–2478. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-57-12-2470 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Healey MC, Farrell AP (2006) Behavioural physiology of fish migrations: salmon as a model approach. In: Sloman KA, Balshine S, Wilson RW (eds) Fish physiology, Volume 24. Academic, London, pp 239–295Google Scholar
  21. Hinch SG, Standen EM, Healey MC, Farrell AP (2002) Swimming patterns and behaviour of upriver-migrating adult pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and sockeye (O. nerka) salmon as assessed by EMG telemetry in the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada. Hydrobiologia 483:147–160. doi: 10.1023/A:1021327511881 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Keefer ML, Peery CA, Heinrich MJ (2008) Temperature-mediated en route migration mortality and travel rates of endangered Snake River sockeye salmon. Ecol Freshw Fish 17:136–145. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2007.00267.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Macdonald JS (2000) Mortality during the migration of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka): a study of the effect of ocean and river environmental conditions in 1997. Can Tech Rep Fish Aquat Sci 2315.Google Scholar
  24. MacDonald JS, Williams IV (1998) Effects of environmental conditions on salmon stocks: the 1997 run of early Stuart sockeye salmon. In: Gallaugher P, Wood L (eds) Speaking for salmon workshop proceedings. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, pp 46–51Google Scholar
  25. Mathes MT, Hinch SG, Cooke SJ, Crossin GT, Patterson DA, Lotto AG, Farrell AP (2010) Effect of water temperature, timing, physiological condition and lake thermal refugia on migrating adult Weaver Creek sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 67:70–84Google Scholar
  26. McCormick MI (2006) Mothers matter: crowding leads to stressed mothers and smaller offspring in marine fish. Ecology 87:1104–1109. doi: 10.1890/00129658(2006)87[1104:MMCLTS]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. McDonald G, Milligan L (1997) Ionic, osmotic and acid-base regulation in stress. In: Iwama GK, Pickering AD, Sumpter JP, Schreck CB (eds) Fish stress and health in aquaculture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp 119–144Google Scholar
  28. Mingist M, Kitani T, Koide N, Ueda H (2007) Relationship between eyed-egg percentage and levels of cortisol and thyroid hormone in masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou. J Fish Biol 70:1045–1056. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01362.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Olla BL, Davis MW, Schreck CB (1997) Effects of simulated trawling on sablefish and walleye pollack: the role of light intensity, net velocity and towing duration. J Fish Biol 50:1181–1194. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1997.tb01646.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pankhurst NW, Van Der Kraak G (1997) Effects of stress on reproduction and growth in fish. In: Iwama GK, Pickering AD, Sumpter JP, Schreck CB (eds) Fish stress and health in aquaculture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp 73–94Google Scholar
  31. Patterson DA, Macdonald JS, Hinch SG, Healey MC, Farrell AP (2004) The effect of exercise and captivity on energy partitioning, reproductive maturation, and fertilization success in adult sockeye salmon. J Fish Biol 64:1039–1059. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2004.0370.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pickering AD, Pottinger TG (1989) Stress responses and disease resistance in salmonid fish: effects of chronic elevation of plasma cortisol. Fish Physiol Biochem 7:253–258. doi: 10.1007/BF00004714 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Portz DE, Woodley CM, Cech JJJ (2006) Stress-associated impacts of short-term holding on fishes. Rev Fish Biol Fisher 16:125–170. doi: 10.1007/s11160-006-9012-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Quinn TP (2005) The behavior and ecology of Pacific salmon and trout. UBC Press, Vancouver, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  35. Rand PS, Hinch SG (1998) Swim speeds and energy use of upriver-migrating sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka): Simulating metabolic power and assessing risk of energy depletion. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 55:1832–1841. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-55-8-1832 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rand PS, Hinch SG, Morrison J, Foreman MG, MacNutt MJ, MacDonald JS, Healey MC, Farrell AP, Higgs DA (2006) Effects of river discharge, temperature, and future climates on energetics and mortality of adult migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon. T Am Fish Soc 135:655–667. doi: 10.1577/T05-023.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shrimpton JM, Patterson DA, Richards JG, Cooke SJ, Schulte PM, Hinch SG, Farrell AP (2005) Ionoregulatory changes in different populations of maturing sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka during ocean and river migration. J Exp Biol 208:4069–4078. doi: 10.1242/jeb.01871 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Standen EM, Hinch SG, Healey MC, Farrell AP (2002) Energetic costs of migration through the Fraser River Canyon, British Columbia, in adult pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon as assessed by EMG telemetry. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 59:1809–1818. doi: 10.1139/f02-151 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Webb PW (1995) Locomotion. In: Groot C, Margolis L, Clarke WC (eds) Physiological ecology of Pacific salmon. UBC Press, Vancouver, Canada, pp 71–99Google Scholar
  40. Wedemeyer GA, Barton BA, McLeay DJ (1990) Stress and acclimation. In: Schreck CB, Moyle PB (eds) Methods for Fish Biology. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, pp 451–489Google Scholar
  41. Wedemeyer GA, Wydoski RS (2008) Physiological response of some economically important freshwater salmonids to catch-and-release fishing. N Am J Fish Manage 28:1587–1596. doi: 10.1577/M07-186.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Weihs D (1973) Optimal fish cruising speed. Nature 245:48–50. doi: 10.1038/245048a0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wendelaar Bonga SE (1997) The stress response in fish. Physiol Rev 77:591–625PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Wood CM, Turner JD, Graham MS (1983) Why do fish die after severe exercise? J Fish Biol 22:189–201. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1983.tb04739.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick S. Nadeau
    • 1
  • Scott G. Hinch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kimberly A. Hruska
    • 1
  • Lucas B. Pon
    • 1
  • David A. Patterson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental ManagementSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

Personalised recommendations