Should I Stay or Should I Go? Migration Patterns of Puget Sound Salmon

Photo copyright Morgan BondBy Jessica Rohde
January 25, 2012, 6 PM,
Downstairs at Town Hall Seattle

Pacific salmon perform spectacular feats of migration, traveling thousands of miles from their natal river to distant stretches of the Pacific Ocean. Using their sense of the magnetic field and smell, they then return to nearly the exact location they were born. Most coho salmon from Puget Sound follow this migration pathway. However, some individuals do not migrate to the open ocean, instead remaining in the semi-enclosed, urbanized waters of Puget Sound. This “resident” behavior is risky. Individuals that stay in Puget Sound are smaller, and may have increased exposure to toxic contaminants. We don’t know why coho salmon remain in Puget Sound or exactly where they go. What are the benefits of staying? Are hatchery produced fish more likely stay than wild fish? My research seeks to understand the diversity of Puget Sound coho movement patterns. I track their movements using acoustic telemetry, and use data from commercial fisheries to determine if hatchery production is related to resident behavior.

About the Speaker

Jessica Rohde is a M.S. student at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences where she studies fisheries ecology and animal movement and behavior. She is the President of the University of Washington Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, where she is active in science education and outreach, and provides career resources for students in fisheries science. She earned her B.A. in biology from Colorado College, and has conducted a variety of research in the U.S and abroad, including tracking small carnivores in Mongolia, assessing coral community structure in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and quantifying the effects of fire on benthic macroinvertebrates in the South Platte River, Colorado.


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