Many important, recently glaciated oligotrophic lakes that lie in coastal regions around the northern rim of the Pacific Ocean produce anadromous populations of sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka. This paper describes the limnology and fish ecology of two such lakes in British Columbia, five in Alaska, and one in Kamchatka. Then we discuss the following general topics: the biogenic eutrophication of nursery lakes from the nutrients released from salmon carcasses wherein during years of highest numbers of spawners, lake phosphate balances in Lakes Babine, Iliamna, and Dalnee are significantly affected; the use of nursery lakes by young sockeye that reveals five patterns related to size and configuration of lake basins and the distribution of spawning areas; the interactions between various life history stages of sockeye salmon and such resident predators, competitors, and prey as Arctic char, lake trout, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout, lake whitefish, pygmy whitefish, pond smelt, sticklebacks, and sculpins; the self-regulation of sockeye salmon abundance in these nursery lakes as controlled by density-dependent processes; the interrelations between young sockeye salmon biomass and growth rates, and zooplankton abundance in Babine Lake; and finally, the diel, vertical, pelagial migratory behavior of young sockeye in Babine Lake and the new hypothesis dealing with bioenergetic conservation.
Additional Publication Details
Limnology and fish ecology of sockeye salmon nursery lakes of the world