, Volume 483, Issue 1–3, pp 147–160 | Cite as

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

  • Scott G. HinchEmail author
  • Emily M. Standen
  • Michael C. Healey
  • Anthony P. Farrell


Little is known about the behaviour patterns and swimming speed strategies of anadromous upriver migrating fish. We used electromyogram telemetry to estimate instantaneous swimming speeds for individual sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) and pink salmon (O. gorbuscha) during their spawning migrations through reaches which spanned a gradient in river hydraulic features in the Fraser River, British Columbia. Our main objectives were to describe patterns of individual-specific swim speeds and behaviours, identify swimming speed strategies and contrast these between sexes, species and reaches. Although mean swimming speeds did not differ between pink salmon (2.21 BL s−1) and sockeye salmon (1.60 BL s−1), sockeye salmon were over twice as variable (mean CV; 54.78) in swimming speeds as pink salmon (mean CV; 22.54). Using laboratory-derived criteria, we classified swimming speeds as sustained (<2.5 BL s−1), prolonged (2.5–3.2 BL s−1), or burst (>3.2 BL s−1). We found no differences between sexes or species in the proportion of total time swimming in these categories – sustained (0.76), prolonged (0.18), burst (0.06); numbers are based on species and sexes combined. Reaches with relatively complex hydraulics and fast surface currents had migrants with relatively high levels of swimming speed variation (e.g., high swimming speed CV, reduced proportions of sustained speeds, elevated proportions of burst speeds, and high rates of bursts) and high frequency of river crossings. We speculate that complex current patterns generated by river constrictions created confusing migration cues, which impeded a salmon's ability to locate appropriate pathways.

migration electromyogram telemetry swimming strategies burst swimming river hydraulics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott G. Hinch
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Emily M. Standen
    • 1
  • Michael C. Healey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anthony P. Farrell
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Westwater Research Unit in the Institute for Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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