, Volume 779, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Does maternal captivity of wild, migratory sockeye salmon influence offspring performance?

  • N. M. SopinkaEmail author
  • C. T. Middleton
  • D. A. Patterson
  • S. G. Hinch
Primary Research Paper


The environment females experience during sexual maturation can have cascading effects on offspring. For free-swimming populations of wild fish, ecological factors including predation and competition are known to alter offspring phenotype. For wild-caught fish targeted for stock enhancement, logistical factors, such as the widespread practice of holding fish in captivity/confinement, also have the potential to modify offspring phenotype. Understanding how maternal captivity affects offspring, in comparison to offspring reared from fish that have matured in the wild, is an important but relatively understudied aspect of fish culture. We examined egg and offspring traits for wild-caught female sockeye salmon reared in captivity during the final stages of sexual maturation or captured on spawning grounds following in-river maturation. Compared to females that matured in-river, captive females had smaller eggs and offspring in poorer body condition. These same offspring did however swim for longer durations. These results suggest that maternal captivity prior to spawning elicits intergenerational phenotypic change. Whether captivity-induced maternal effects are maladaptive/reduce offspring fitness will be dependent upon the environment in which offspring are being released into (e.g. captive or wild). Intergenerational effects of short-term captivity of wild fish may be a contributing mechanism mediating the success of fisheries supplementation programmes.


Cortisol Egg Fish Intergenerational effects Swimming Stress 



All experimental methods were approved by the University of British Columbia (UBC) Animal Care Committee (#A11 0215) and met the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines. The authors thank members of the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Lab, Chehalis First Nation, DFO Environmental Watch, DFO stock assessment, DFO Cultus Lake Salmon Research Laboratory, and undergraduate volunteers for fish collection and offspring rearing, J. Hills and A. Faure for help with egg cortisol analyses, and G. Raby and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. SGH is funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery, Strategic and Network (Ocean Tracking Network Canada)  grants. NMS was funded by an NSERC graduate scholarship, and CTM was funded by an NSERC undergraduate student research award.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. M. Sopinka
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • C. T. Middleton
    • 1
  • D. A. Patterson
    • 2
  • S. G. Hinch
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Laboratory, Department of Forest and Conservation SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management InstituteSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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