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Physiological, energetic and behavioural correlates of successful fishway passage of adult sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka in the Seton River, British Columbia

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Abstract:

Electromyogram (EMG) radio telemetry was used in conjunction with physiological biopsy to relate prior physiological condition and subsequent swimming energetics and behaviours to passage success of 13 wild adult sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka at a vertical-slot fishway on the Seton River, British Columbia. At the time of capture, plasma lactate, glucose and cortisol levels indicated that fish were not exhibiting unusually high levels of physiological stress. Very few differences existed between successful and unsuccessful fish in body size, initial plasma physiology and energy state and mean swim speed and energy use during passage. Generally, fish did not employ burst swimming during successful or failed attempts at passage, indicating that failure was probably not related to metabolic acidosis. Plasma Na+ concentration was significantly lower in unsuccessful fish (P < 0ยท05), which is suggestive of a depressed ionic state or a possible stress component, although values in all fish were within an expected range for migrant adult O. nerka. Nevertheless, six of 13 fish failed to reascend the fishway and remained in the tailrace of the dam for more than a day on average before moving downstream and away from the dam. During this time, fish were observed actively seeking a means of passage, suggesting that there may have been other, undetermined causes of passage failure.

Keywords: EMG; biopsy; dam; fish ladder; migration; telemetry

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02213.x

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada 2: Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6 Canada 3: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6 Canada 4: Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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