Smoltification Physiology in the Culture of Salmonids

  • Jeremy S. Langdon


The delicate silvery fish, the smolts, which migrate seawards each spring were thought by early naturalists to be a distinct species from the drab, brownish parr in the freshwater reaches of rivers, until it was demonstrated that both were juvenile forms of the anadromous salmon and trout (Shaw, 1836, 1838). The remarkable transformation of the parr to the smolt stage, known as smoltification, is evident as silvering of the body, darkening of the fins in some species, a streamlining of the body, and seaward migration. Multiple changes in growth, metabolism, osmoregulation and behaviour also occur during the transformation, and affect the subsequent survival and growth of the fish in the marine environment. Knowledge of the smolting process is thus basic to the efficient culture and propagation of anadromous salmon and trout in the genera Oncorhynchus and Salmo. This review aims to describe the current understanding of the physiology of smoltification, and to indicate how this information can be used in salmonid culture and management.


ATPase Activity Atlantic Salmon Chinook Salmon Coho Salmon Chloride Cell 
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© James F. Muir and Ronald J. Roberts 1985

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