Sockeye salmon are a cornerstone species in many Alaska watersheds. Each summer, adults lay eggs in rocky nests called “redds,” and they die soon after. In spring, their fry emerge from gravels and then rear in a nearby freshwater lake for one year or more before migrating as smolt to the sea. During this smolt phase, an olfactory map of their route is imprinted on their memories. Sockeye salmon spend one to four years in the ocean feeding and growing. Then, some innate cue sends them back in a mass migration to their natal lake systems, which they find using the olfactory map made years before. They complete their life cycle by spawning, then dying in habitats of their birth.
|Unlocking the secrets of Lake Clark sockeye salmon
|Alaska Park Science
|U.S. National Park Service
|Alaska Science Center
|Google Analytic Metrics