Juvenile habitat partitioning and relative productivity in allochronically isolated sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)


D.D. Heath, University of Windsor, GLIER, 401 Sunset Ave, Windsor ON, N9B 3P4, Canada. Tel: 519-253-3000 (ext 3762); Fax: 519-971-3616; E-mail: dheath@uwindsor.ca


Allochronic divergence, like spatial isolation, may contribute to population diversity and adaptation, however the challenges for tracking habitat utilization in shared environments are far greater. Adult Klukshu River (Yukon, Canada) sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka, return as genetically distinct “early” and “late” runs. Early and late adult spawning populations (1999 and 2000) and their subsequent fry (sampled at 7 sites in 2000 and at 8 sites in 2001 throughout Klukshu Lake and River) were genotyped at eight microsatellite loci. Bayesian assignment was used to determine the spatial distribution of early versus late fry; although intermixed, the distribution of fry significantly differed in Klukshu Lake and in the Klukshu River in 2001, based on crosstab analyses. Late-run fry predominated in Klukshu Lake at all sites, while early-run fry were most common in the north and south of Klukshu Lake and in Klukshu River. Early-run spawners had significantly higher relative productivity (early life survival) than late-run fish (2.9 times more fry produced per early-run adult in 2000, and 9.2 times more in 2001). This study demonstrates spatial habitat partitioning and differences in the contribution of allochronically isolated populations to fry abundance, and highlights annual variability that likely contributes to recruitment variation.