This study investigated behavioural thermoregulation by subyearling fall (autumn) Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in a reservoir on the Snake River, Washington, U.S.A. During the summer, temperatures in the reservoir varied from 23?? C on the surface to 11?? C at 14 m depth. Subyearlings implanted with temperature-sensing radio transmitters were released at the surface at temperatures >20?? C during three blocks of time in summer 2004. Vertical profiles were taken to measure temperature and depth use as the fish moved downstream over an average of 5??6-7??2 h and 6??0-13??8 km. The majority of the subyearlings maintained average body temperatures that differed from average vertical profile temperatures during most of the time they were tracked. The mean proportion of the time subyearlings tracked within the 16-20?? C temperature range was larger than the proportion of time this range was available, which confirmed temperature selection opposed to random use. The subyearlings selected a depth and temperature combination that allowed them to increase their exposure to temperatures of 16-20?? C when temperatures <16 and >20?? C were available at lower and higher positions in the water column. A portion of the subyearlings that selected a temperature c. 17??0?? C during the day, moved into warmer water at night coincident with an increase in downstream movement rate. Though subyearlings used temperatures outside of the 16-20?? C range part of the time, behavioural thermoregulation probably reduced the effects of intermittent exposure to suboptimal temperatures. By doing so, it might enhance growth opportunity and life-history diversity in the population of subyearlings studied.
Additional publication details
Behavioural thermoregulation by subyearling fall (autumn) Chinook salmon oncorhynchus tshawytscha in a reservoir