Conservation planning for freshwater–marine carryover effects on Chinook salmon survival

Jennifer L. Gosselin, Richard W. Zabel, James J. Anderson, James R. Faulkner, António M. Baptista, Benjamin P. Sandford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Experiences of migratory species in one habitat may affect their survival in the next habitat, in what is known as carryover effects. These effects are especially relevant for understanding how freshwater experience affects survival in anadromous fishes. Here, we study the carryover effects of juvenile salmon passage through a hydropower system (Snake and Columbia rivers, northwestern United States). To reduce the direct effect of hydrosystem passage on juveniles, some fishes are transported through the hydrosystem in barges, while the others are allowed to migrate in-river. Although hydrosystem survival of transported fishes is greater than that of their run-of-river counterparts, their relative juvenile-to-adult survival (hereafter survival) can be less. We tested for carryover effects using generalized linear mixed effects models of survival with over 1 million tagged Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum) (Salmonidae), migrating in 1999–2013. Carryover effects were identified with rear-type (wild vs. hatchery), passage-type (run-of-river vs. transported), and freshwater and marine covariates. Importantly, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index characterizing cool/warm (i.e., productive/nonproductive) ocean phases had a strong influence on the relative survival of rear- and passage-types. Specifically, transportation benefited wild Chinook salmon more in cool PDO years, while hatchery counterparts benefited more in warm PDO years. Transportation was detrimental for wild Chinook salmon migrating early in the season, but beneficial for later season migrants. Hatchery counterparts benefited from transportation throughout the season. Altogether, wild fish could benefit from transportation approximately 2 weeks earlier during cool PDO years, with still a benefit to hatchery counterparts. Furthermore, we found some support for hypotheses related to higher survival with increased river flow, high predation in the estuary and plume areas, and faster migration and development-related increased survival with temperature. Thus, pre- and within-season information on local- and broad-scale conditions across habitats can be useful for planning and implementing real-time conservation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • cross-life stage and cumulative effects
  • delayed mortality
  • hydropower dams
  • real-time monitoring
  • translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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