Size, growth, and size‐selective mortality of subyearling Chinook Salmon during early marine residence in Puget Sound

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
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In marine ecosystems, survival can be heavily influenced by size‐selective mortality during juvenile life stages. Understanding how and when size‐selective mortality operates on a population can reveal underlying growth dynamics and size‐selective ecological processes affecting the population and thus can be used to guide conservation efforts. For subyearling Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in Puget Sound, previous research reported a strong positive relationship between marine survival and body mass during midsummer in epipelagic habitats within Puget Sound, suggesting that early marine growth drives survival. However, a fine‐scale analysis of size‐selective mortality is needed to identify specific critical growth periods and habitats. The objectives of this study were to (1) describe occupancy patterns across estuarine delta, nearshore marine, and offshore epipelagic habitats in Puget Sound; (2) describe changes in FL and weight observed across habitats and time; (3) evaluate evidence for size‐selective mortality; and (4) illustrate how marine survival of the stocks studied may be affected by variation in July weight. In 2014 and 2015, we sampled FLs, weights, and scales from seven hatchery‐origin and two natural‐origin stocks of subyearling Chinook Salmon captured every 2 weeks during out‐migration and rearing in estuary, nearshore, and offshore habitats within Puget Sound. Natural‐origin stocks had more protracted habitat occupancy patterns than hatchery‐origin stocks and were smaller than hatchery‐origin stocks in both years. Regardless of origin, subyearlings were longer and heavier and grew faster in offshore habitats compared to estuary and nearshore habitats. For all stocks, we found little evidence of size‐selective mortality among habitats in Puget Sound. These patterns were consistent in both years. Finally, the weights of subyearlings sampled during July in the offshore habitat predicted Puget Sound‐wide marine survival rates of 0.4% for 2014 and 2.0% for 2015, with stock‐specific predictions ranging from 0.18% to 11.70%.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Size, growth, and size‐selective mortality of subyearling Chinook Salmon during early marine residence in Puget Sound
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1002/tafs.10032
Volume 147
Issue 2
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 370
Last page 289
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Puget Sound
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