Marine growth patterns of southern British Columbia chum salmon explained by interactions between density-dependent competition and changing climate

Date

2017

Authors

Debertin, Allan J.
Irvine, James R.
Holt, Carrie A.
Oka, Gladys
Trudel, Marc

Journal Title

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Volume Title

Publisher

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Abstract

Thirty-nine years of scale growth measurements from Big Qualicum River chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) in southern British Columbia demonstrated that competition and climate variation affect marine growth and age-at-maturity. A longitudinal study design that accounted for correlation among individuals revealed growth at all ages was reduced when the biomass of North American chum, sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka), and pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) was high. When North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) was positive, indicating increased primary productivity, predicted growth increased. Climate variation influenced competition effects. For instance, density-dependent competition effects increased when NPGO became more positive and Pacific Decadal Oscillation became more negative (indicating cool conditions), causing the greatest range in predicted scale size. Chum salmon are likely to exhibit continued reduction in growth at age due to increased ocean temperatures driven by climate change and high aggregate salmon biomass that includes hatchery releases. If evidence of biomass and climate effects presented here are common among Pacific salmon populations, reduction of hatchery releases should be considered.

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Citation

Debertin, A.J.; Irvine, J.R.; Holt, C.A.; Oka, G.; & Truedel, M. (2017). Marine growth patterns of southern British Columbia chum salmon explained by interactions between density-dependent competition and changing climate. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 74(7), 1077-1087. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2016-0265