Study tracks salmon, predicts deaths

2011-01-14 20:00
This salmon 'fish ladder' has been designed to facilitate the fish's ability to spawn successfully. (AP)

This salmon 'fish ladder' has been designed to facilitate the fish's ability to spawn successfully. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Grants Pass - Scientists working with wild sockeye salmon struggling to cope with warming temperatures in British Columbia's Fraser River have identified broad genetic signatures that can predict which fish will live or die before spawning a new generation.

Oregon State University salmon geneticist Michael Banks, who did not take part in the study, said on Thursday it represents a breakthrough in tracking how salmon are surviving new stresses from global warming.

"My first response was, 'Wow, this is a tremendous synthesis of a lot of groundbreaking work,'" he said.

The study published in the Friday edition of the journal Science comes as the Canadian government conducts an official inquiry into why the Fraser River sockeye run - worth more than $1bn a year to the fishing industry - had been declining precipitously for a decade before bouncing back unexpectedly in 2010 with the biggest returns in nearly a century.

Study authors suggested the fish may be dealing with a virus, which would be harder for the fish to fight off as the river gets warmer. They noted seven of the past 10 summers have been the warmest on record on the Fraser.

Signature

The study combined radio tracking of fish caught in the ocean and river with a genomic signature based on 32 000 genes in individual fish. Fish captured on the spawning grounds were tracked with tags.

Researchers from the Canadian Department of Oceans and Fisheries and other institutions found up to 60% of the fish they tracked from the ocean in 2006 had genomic signatures predicting their fate.

Fish with one of those signatures tagged in the ocean were 13.5 times more likely to die before reaching spawning grounds. Fish with the same signature that made it to spawning grounds were 3.7 times more likely to die without spawning.

One behavioural trait they found was fish that took a longer time to swim upriver were more likely to spawn successfully than fast swimmers.

University of California, Davis salmon biologist Peter Moyle, who was not part of the study, wrote in an e-mail that the techniques used in the study have major promise as a new tool to guide salmon restoration efforts.

"The study shows that salmon with a particular functional genomic signature are much less likely to survive and reproduce, whether the fish are in the ocean, in the river, or on the spawning grounds," he wrote.

Moyle said the genomic signatures are essentially responses of the fish's genome - the full array of genes - to a threat, with genes "turned on to guide the physiological and behavioural responses to the threat".

While the authors suggested the fish were dealing with a virus, Moyle said he thought something directly related to people was likely, such as the effects of climate change, or diseases introduced by salmon farms.
- AP
Read more on:    marine life
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may take extra pride in your work today. You have a need to shine and be respected so you may put the extra effort and TLC...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.