Early Marine Survival of Juvenile Pacific Salmon

The first months after salmon enter the ocean are a critical period in their life history. Survival during this early marine phase in the coastal ocean may ultimately be responsible for inter-annual variability and long-term fluctuations in stocks.

The Juvenile Salmon Survival Program researches key aspects of early marine life history that are expected to impact the growth, health and ultimately survival of the juvenile fish:

  • Spatial and temporal variability of marine habitat that juvenile salmon experience in coastal British Columbia;
  • How ocean conditions drive the availability of zooplankton prey in space and time, and the quantity and quality of that zooplankton prey;
  • The effect of prey timing, quantity, and quality on juvenile salmon growth;
  • Juvenile salmon species specific feeding biology and competitive interactions;
  • Pathogen and parasite infection dynamics;
  • How migration behavior determines early marine life history experience;
  • The interactive effects of the above on juvenile salmon mortality.

The research is conducted in partnership with the Hakai Institute, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Wuikinuxv and Heiltsuk Nation’s.

Lab personnel: 

  • Samantha James (MSc Candidate) – sockeye salmon trophic ecology;
  • Vanessa Fladmark (MSc candidate) – pink and chum salmon trophic ecology;
  • Yuliya Kuzmenko (PhD candidate) – sockeye salmon migration dynamic and early marine growth;
  • Dr. David Costalago (PDF) – food webs supporting juvenile salmon;
  • Dr. Jessica Garzke (PDF) – juvenile salmon growth rates.

Below – Map of sampling locations in the Salish Sea component of the Juvenile Salmon Survival Program