Ocean Ecosystem Indicators of Pacific Salmon Marine Survival in the Northern California Current
Long-term monitoring of ocean conditions and their effect on juvenile pacific salmon's survival off Oregon and Washington.
Adult salmon survival is strongly tied to the ocean conditions they experience when they enter the sea as young fish. Variations in juvenile salmon's marine survival often correspond with periods of alternating cold and warm ocean conditions. For example, cold conditions are generally good for Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho (O. kisutch) salmon. Warm conditions are not.
What We Do
We collect and analyze physical, chemical, and biological ocean data off the Washington and Oregon coasts. These data allow us to monitor climate variability and ocean condition changes that may affect young salmon.
We sample every two to four weeks along the Newport Hydrographic Line and annually over a broader geographic region. We then distill the biological and physical data into ocean ecosystem indicators that span different times and areas (e.g., basin, regional, and local geographic scales). These ocean indicators allow us to characterize juvenile salmon habitat and survival.
These indicators have also shown promise for other stocks such as sablefish, rockfish, and sardine.
Ocean Indicators Summary and Stoplight Table
We incorporate large-scale physical, regional-scale physical, and local-scale biological data into an annual summary of ocean indicators and a summary table. This so-called "stoplight table" characterizes ocean conditions experienced by juvenile salmon entering the northern California Current.
The qualitative stoplight table rates each indicator in terms of its "good," "bad," or "neutral" relative impact on salmon marine survival.
Northwest Fisheries Science Center Fish Ecology staff
- Kym Jacobson, Research Zoologist, Newport Field Station
- Brian Burke, Research Fisheries Biologist
- JoAnne Butzerin, Technical Writer/Editor
- Bill Peterson, Late Oceanographer, Newport Field Station