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Climate warming causes phenological shift in Pink Salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, behavior at Auke Creek, Alaska



    1. Auke Bay Laboratory, Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 17109 Point Lena Loop Road, 11305 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801, USA
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Sidney G. Taylor, fax +907 789 6094, e-mail:


Thirty-four years (1972–2005) of water temperature data and extensive biological observations at Auke Creek, Alaska indicate a general warming trend that affected the native pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) population. Serial environmental records at nearby Auke Bay, Alaska over 46 years show trends of increasing air and sea surface temperatures. Trends of increased total precipitation and earlier date of ice out on nearby Auke Lake also occurred, but not at significant rates. Average water temperatures during the incubation of pink salmon in Auke Creek increased at a rate of 0.03 °C yr−1 over the 34-year period. For the 1972–2005 broods, midpoints of fry migrations from Auke Creek ranged between April 2 and May 7, and there was a trend of earlier migration of pink salmon fry at a rate of − 0.5 days yr−1. The migration timing of adult salmon into Auke Creek also showed a trend toward earlier timing. The earlier adult migration combined with warmer incubation temperatures are related to earlier migration of pink salmon fry. If the observed warming trend continues, Auke Creek may become unsuitable habitat for pink salmon. Given the trend for salmon fry to migrate earlier, a larger portion of the population may become mismatched with optimum environmental conditions during their early marine life history. If salmon adults continue to migrate into the creek earlier when water temperatures are commonly high, it will result in increased prespawning mortality.

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