Summer emigration and resource acquisition within a shared nursery lake by sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) from historically discrete rearing environments
R.K. Simmons,* T.P. Quinn, L.W. Seeb, D.E. Schindler, and R. Hilborn. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Box 355020, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Many fish species disperse broadly during juvenile life history stages. While this may enable persistence in variable environments, it may also produce novel competitive interactions in recipient habitats that contain conspecifics from other populations. Here we used genetics techniques to study the stock-specific movement and performance of juvenile sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) between July and August of 2008 in an ecosystem characterized by extensive juvenile migration and environmental change: the Chignik Lake system, Alaska. Genetic composition of juvenile sockeye salmon in the lower nursery lake based on 45 single nucleotide polymorphism markers indicated that 2008 was characterized by earlier timing and larger magnitude of emigrations from the upper lake, where rearing conditions have become increasingly unstable in recent decades. However, the larger size of emigrants did not confer a clear advantage in foraging based on comparisons of growth and body condition with juveniles native to the lower lake. These results highlight how shifting environmental conditions may exert pressures on evolved behavior patterns and increase interactions between sympatric populations, a theme of increasing importance where ecological uncertainty is high.
Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 70: 57–63 (2013) dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2012-0159 Published at www.nrcresearchpress.com/cjfas on 8 November 2012.