Presentation Abstract

Juvenile Chinook salmon are well known for utilizing estuarine habitats within the tidal delta for rearing during outmigration. Several studies have linked population responses to availability of estuary habitat, and support the hypothesis that estuarine habitats are vital rearing areas for juvenile Chinook salmon. However, these coarse-scale studies provide little insight on how specific estuarine habitats contribute to rearing potential for salmon. We integrate long-term monitoring data from four estuaries of Puget Sound (Nooksack, Skagit, Snohomish, and Nisqually) to examine whether 1) Chinook populations in these rivers are limited by restricted estuary habitat, 2) hatchery releases can influence density dependent relationships in estuaries, 3) highly connected sites support higher densities of salmon, and 4) different habitat types support higher rearing densities of Chinook salmon. Across sampling locations within estuary systems, average annual rearing densities varied over four orders of magnitude. We found strong support for density dependence, habitat type, landscape connectivity, and hatchery release numbers influencing rearing densities, although all factors were not necessarily as important within each system, and effects of habitat type were particularly variable. Further work using bioenergetics models suggest that habitat-dependent variation in temperature can strongly influence growth in different systems, and that multiple habitats are likely important to provide suitable habitat for extended estuary rearing. These analyses are useful for determining the relative contribution of connectivity, cohort population size, and local habitat conditions for growth potential of Chinook salmon using estuarine habitats at early life stages, and shed light on likely impacts of climate change upon rearing conditions.

Session Title

Response of Water-Column Processes and Pelagic Organisms to Long-term Change

Keywords

Chinook salmon, Estuary, Density dependence

Conference Track

SSE16: Long-Term Monitoring of Salish Sea Ecosystems

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE16-534

Start Date

5-4-2018 4:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 5:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 4:45 PM Apr 5th, 5:00 PM

Density-dependent and landscape effects upon estuary rearing in Chinook salmon: insights from long-term monitoring in four Puget Sound estuaries

Juvenile Chinook salmon are well known for utilizing estuarine habitats within the tidal delta for rearing during outmigration. Several studies have linked population responses to availability of estuary habitat, and support the hypothesis that estuarine habitats are vital rearing areas for juvenile Chinook salmon. However, these coarse-scale studies provide little insight on how specific estuarine habitats contribute to rearing potential for salmon. We integrate long-term monitoring data from four estuaries of Puget Sound (Nooksack, Skagit, Snohomish, and Nisqually) to examine whether 1) Chinook populations in these rivers are limited by restricted estuary habitat, 2) hatchery releases can influence density dependent relationships in estuaries, 3) highly connected sites support higher densities of salmon, and 4) different habitat types support higher rearing densities of Chinook salmon. Across sampling locations within estuary systems, average annual rearing densities varied over four orders of magnitude. We found strong support for density dependence, habitat type, landscape connectivity, and hatchery release numbers influencing rearing densities, although all factors were not necessarily as important within each system, and effects of habitat type were particularly variable. Further work using bioenergetics models suggest that habitat-dependent variation in temperature can strongly influence growth in different systems, and that multiple habitats are likely important to provide suitable habitat for extended estuary rearing. These analyses are useful for determining the relative contribution of connectivity, cohort population size, and local habitat conditions for growth potential of Chinook salmon using estuarine habitats at early life stages, and shed light on likely impacts of climate change upon rearing conditions.