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A remote-sensing, GIS-based approach to identify, characterize, and model spawning habitat for fall-run chum salmon in a sub-arctic, glacially fed river

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

By:
, , , , ,
DOI: 10.1080/00028487.2012.692348

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Abstract

At northern limits of a species’ distribution, fish habitat requirements are often linked to thermal preferences, and the presence of overwintering habitat. However, logistical challenges and hydrologic processes typical of glacial systems could compromize the identification of these habitats, particularly in large river environments. Our goal was to identify and characterize spawning habitat for fall-run chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta and model habitat selection from spatial distributions of tagged individuals in the Tanana River, Alaska using an approach that combined ground surveys with remote sensing. Models included braiding, sinuosity, ice-free water surface area (indicating groundwater influence), and persistent ice-free water (i.e., consistent presence of ice-free water for a 12-year period according to satellite imagery). Candidate models containing persistent ice-free water were selected as most likely, highlighting the utility of remote sensing for monitoring and identifying salmon habitat in remote areas. A combination of ground and remote surveys revealed spatial and temporal thermal characteristics of these habitats that could have strong biological implications. Persistent ice-free sites identified using synthetic aperture radar appear to serve as core areas for spawning fall chum salmon, and the importance of stability through time suggests a legacy of successful reproductive effort for this homing species. These features would not be captured with a one-visit traditional survey but rather required remote-sensing monitoring of the sites through time.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
A remote-sensing, GIS-based approach to identify, characterize, and model spawning habitat for fall-run chum salmon in a sub-arctic, glacially fed river
Series title:
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI:
10.1080/00028487.2012.692348
Volume
141
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Description:
15 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
1349
Last page:
1363