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Freshwater movement patterns by juvenile Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. before they migrate to the ocean: Oh the places you'll go!

Authors

  • J. M. Shrimpton,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ecosystem Science and Management (Biology) Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9 Canada
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  • K. D. Warren,

    1. Ecosystem Science and Management (Biology) Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9 Canada
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    • Present Address: ERM Consultants Canada Ltd, 3790 Alfred Avenue, Smithers, BC, V0J 2N0 Canada

  • N. L. Todd,

    1. Nicola Tribal Association, Nicola Watershed Stewardship and Fisheries Authority, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 Canada
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  • C. J. McRae,

    1. Ecosystem Science and Management (Biology) Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9 Canada
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    • Present Address: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, No. 1, Sec. 2, Da Hsueh Road, Shoufeng, Hualien, 97401 Taiwan

  • G. J. Glova,

    1. LGL Limited Environmental Research Associates, Sidney, BC, V8L 3Y8 Canada
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  • K. H. Telmer,

    1. School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2 Canada
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  • A. D. Clarke

    1. Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia, Suite 101, Victoria, BC, V9A 7S2, Canada
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Abstract

Juvenile movement patterns for coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch and Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha from two large interior rivers of British Columbia, Canada, were examined. Otoliths from post-spawned fishes were collected on spawning grounds and elemental signatures were determined through transects from sectioned otoliths using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Large variations in otolith elemental signatures were found during the freshwater life stage indicative of movement downstream to rivers and tributaries that differed in elemental signature. This study highlights that downstream movements occur before migration to the ocean during the parr–smolt transformation. Extensive downstream movements of parr appear to be a successful life-history strategy based on variations observed in the otolith elemental signatures of spawners. Movements downstream in parr and the remarkable homing ability of adults also suggest that imprinting to natal streams must occur prior to the parr–smolt transformation.

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