This study examined the influence of fall-spawning coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) on the density, growth rate, body condition, and survival to outmigration of juvenile coho salmon on the Copper River Delta, Alaska, USA. During the fall of 1999 and 2000, fish rearing in beaver ponds that received spawning salmon were compared with fish from ponds that did not receive spawners and also with fish from ponds that were artificially enriched with salmon carcasses and eggs. The response to spawning salmon was variable. In some ponds, fall-spawning salmon increased growth rates and improved the condition of juvenile coho salmon. The enrichment with salmon carcasses and eggs significantly increased growth rates of fish in nonspawning ponds. However, there was little evidence that the short-term growth benefits observed in the fall led to greater overwinter growth or survival to outmigration when compared with fish from the nonspawning ponds. One potential reason for this result may be that nutrients from spawning salmon are widely distributed across the delta because of hydrologic connectivity and hyporheic flows. The relationship among spawning salmon, overwinter growth, and smolt production on the Copper River Delta does not appear to be limited entirely to a simple positive feedback loop. ?? 2006 NRC.
Additional Publication Details
The influence of fall-spawning coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) on growth and production of juvenile coho salmon rearing in beaver ponds on the Copper River Delta, Alaska
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences