Bioenergetics modeling was used to estimate zooplankton prey consumption of hatchery and unmarked stocks of juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) migrating seaward in littoral (nearshore) and neritic (epipelagic offshore) marine habitats of southeastern Alaska. A series of model runs were completed using biophysical data collected in Icy Strait, a regional salmon migration corridor, in May, June, July, August, and September of 2001. These data included a temperature (1-m surface versus surface to 20-m average), zooplankton standing crop (surface to 20-m depth versus entire water column), chum salmon diet (percent weight of prey type consumed), energy densities, and weight. Known numbers of hatchery releases were used in a cohort reconstruction model to estimate total abundance of hatchery and wild chum salmon in the northern region of southeastern Alaska, given average survival to adults and for two different (low and high) early marine littoral mortality rate assumptions. Total prey consumption was relatively insensitive to temperature differences associated with the depths potentially utilized by juvenile chum salmon. However, the magnitudes and temporal patterns of total prey consumed differed dramatically between the low and high mortality rate assumptions. Daily consumption rates from the bioenergetics model and CPUE abundance from sampling in Icy Strait were used to estimate amount and percentage of zooplankton standing crop consumed by mixed stocks of chum salmon. We estimated that only a small percentage of the available zooplankton was consumed by juvenile chum salmon, even during peak abundances of marked hatchery and unmarked mixed stocks in July. Total daily consumption of zooplankton by all stock groups of juvenile chum salmon was estimated to be between 330 and 1764 g/km2d1 from June to September in the neritic habitat of Icy Strait. As with any modeling exercise, model outputs can be misleading if input parameters and underlying assumptions are not valid; therefore, additional studies are warranted, especially to determine physiological input parameters, and to improve abundance and mortality estimates specific to juvenile chum salmon. Future bioenergetics modeling is also needed to evaluate consumption by the highly abundant, vertically migrating planktivorous that co-occurred in our study; we suggest that these fishes have a greater impact on the zooplankton standing crop in Icy Strait than do hatchery stock groups of juvenile chum salmon.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 8, 2005
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