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The influence of fall-spawning coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) on growth and production of juvenile coho salmon rearing in beaver ponds on the Copper River Delta, Alaska

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Abstract:

This study examined the influence of fall-spawning coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) on the density, growth rate, body condition, and survival to outmigration of juvenile coho salmon on the Copper River Delta, Alaska, USA. During the fall of 1999 and 2000, fish rearing in beaver ponds that received spawning salmon were compared with fish from ponds that did not receive spawners and also with fish from ponds that were artificially enriched with salmon carcasses and eggs. The response to spawning salmon was variable. In some ponds, fall-spawning salmon increased growth rates and improved the condition of juvenile coho salmon. The enrichment with salmon carcasses and eggs significantly increased growth rates of fish in nonspawning ponds. However, there was little evidence that the short-term growth benefits observed in the fall led to greater overwinter growth or survival to outmigration when compared with fish from the nonspawning ponds. One potential reason for this result may be that nutrients from spawning salmon are widely distributed across the delta because of hydrologic connectivity and hyporheic flows. The relationship among spawning salmon, overwinter growth, and smolt production on the Copper River Delta does not appear to be limited entirely to a simple positive feedback loop.

Notre étude examine l'influence de la présence des saumons coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) à reproduction automnale sur la densité, le taux de croissance, la condition corporelle et la survie des jeunes saumons coho jusqu'à l'émigration du printemps dans le delta du fleuve Copper, Alaska, É.-U. À l'automne 1999 et 2000, nous avons comparé les poissons élevés dans des étangs de castors qui reçoivent des saumons en fraye à des poissons provenant d'étangs qui ne reçoivent pas de reproducteurs et enfin à des poissons provenant d'étangs qui ont été artificiellement enrichis de carcasses et d'oeufs de saumons. La réaction à la présence de saumons reproducteurs est variable. Dans certains étangs, les saumons à reproduction automnale augmentent le taux de croissance et améliorent la condition des jeunes saumons coho. L'enrichissement par l'addition de carcasses et d'oeufs de saumons augmente significativement le taux de croissance des poissons dans les étangs qui ne contiennent pas de reproducteurs. Cependant, il y a peu d'indications que les bénéfices de croissance à court terme observés à l'automne entraînent une meilleure croissance durant l'hiver ou une plus grande survie jusqu'à l'émigration, par comparaison avec les poissons provenant des étangs qui ne reçoivent pas de reproducteurs. Une explication potentielle de ce résultat est que les nutriments provenant des saumons reproducteurs sont peut-être largement répartis dans tout le delta à cause de la connectivité hydrologique et des flux hyporhéiques. La relation entre les saumons reproducteurs, la croissance au cours de l'hiver et la production de saumoneaux dans le delta du fleuve Copper ne semble pas se limiter seulement à une simple boucle de rétroaction positive.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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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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