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Influence of river speed on path selection by migrating adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

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Abstract:

We applied stereovideographic techniques to investigate path selection, ground speed, and swimming speed in adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) ascending the Seton River, British Columbia. We tracked three-dimensional trajectories of salmon through 10 reaches and characterized the current profile at each site. At sites with relatively slow currents, the encountered river current speeds along the fish's trajectory were significantly lower than the mean current speed of the site. However, at higher current speed sites, fish experienced current speeds at or above the average current speed of the site and increased their ground speed through these sites. Observed in situ swimming speeds were 1.4–76.0 times greater than swimming speeds expected based on tailbeat frequency – swimming speed predictive relationships established in flume studies. We conclude that (i) at sites with relatively slow or moderate current speeds, fish minimize exposure to high-speed currents to minimize energy expenditure, (ii) at sites with high-speed currents, fish may change their migration strategy, minimizing time spent searching for low current speed pathways and increasing their ground speed to expedite passage, and (iii) laboratory-derived predictive equations may only be appropriate for predicting in situ swimming costs at sites with moderate and linearly flowing currents.

Nous avons utilisé des techniques de vidéographie stéréo pour étudier le choix des voies de passage, la vitesse au sol et la vitesse de nage chez des saumons rouges (Oncorhynchus nerka) adultes qui remontent la rivière Seton, en Colombie-Britannique. Nous avons suivi les trajectoires tridimensionnelles des saumons à travers 10 sections du cours d'eau et avons décrit les profils des courants à chaque site. Aux sites de courants relativement lents, la trajectoire des poissons traverse des vitesses de courant significativement plus faibles que la vitesse de courant moyenne de la rivière à ce site. Cependant, aux sites de courants plus forts, les poissons rencontrent des vitesses de courant égales ou supérieures à la vitesse de courant moyenne du site et augmentent leur vitesse au sol en traversant ces sites. Les vitesses de nage observées dans le milieu sont 1,4–76,0 fois plus élevées que celles qui sont attendues d'après les relations prédictives entre la fréquence de battement de la queue et la vitesse de nage établies en canal expérimental. Nous concluons que (i) aux sites de vitesses de courant relativement lentes ou moyennes, les poissons minimisent leur exposition aux courants rapides afin de réduire leurs dépenses énergétiques au minimum, (ii) aux sites de forts courants, les poissons changent probablement de stratégie de migration en réduisant le temps consacré à la recherche de voies à faibles courants et en accélérant leur vitesse au sol de manière à réduire leur temps de traversée et (iii) les équations prédictives obtenues en laboratoire ne semblent pouvoir servir à évaluer les coûts de la nage in situ qu'aux sites de courants modérés à flux linéaire.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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