The spawning distribution of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka was compared between clear and glacially turbid habitats in Lake Clark, Alaska, with the use of radiotelemetry. Tracking of 241 adult sockeye salmon to 27 spawning locations revealed both essential habitats and the relationship between spawn timing and seasonal turbidity cycles. Sixty-six percent of radio-tagged sockeye salmon spawned in turbid waters (???5 nephelometric turbidity units) where visual observation was difficult. Spawning in turbid habitats coincided with seasonal temperature declines and associated declines in turbidity and suspended sediment concentration. Because spawn timing is heritable and influenced by temperature, the observed behavior suggests an adaptive response to glacier-fed habitats, as it would reduce embryonic exposure to the adverse effects of fine sediments. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2007.
Additional publication details
Spawning distribution of sockeye salmon in a glacially influenced watershed: The importance of glacial habitats