Pacific salmon ecology & conservation laboratory

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Alison Collins, M.Sc. student

Centre for Applied Conservation Research
3606 Forest Sciences Centre
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z4  CANADA

Office: +001 604 822-1969

alisonl.collins@gmail.com

Fraser River Pacific sockeye salmon stocks have been in recent decline.  To better understand the mechanisms for these declines it is important to identify migration, habitat use and mortality rates in both the adult and juvenile life stages of sockeye salmon.  Researchers have used telemetry technology for the past 50 years to obtain data on fish migration, habitat use, and mortality.  This technology is becoming increasingly popular and is being used to answer questions about the juvenile life stage of salmonids. With this type of data, assumptions that transmitters do not effect the fishes’ survival and/or physiology are often made.  However, these assumptions need to be validated before these types of studies and data collection begin.

The focus of my research is to assess if acoustic transmitters effect the fishes’ survival and/or physiology.  I am researching the effects that three different sizes of acoustic transmitters (small, medium, and large) have on juvenile sockeye survival, growth, and swimming performance.  Acoustic transmitter effects will be examined for juvenile sockeye in freshwater as well as saltwater; I am interested if these different bodies of water effect swimming performance on individually tagged fish as well as changes in survival and/or growth.

The goal of this research is to try and identify appropriate transmitter to body size ratios that have little to no effect on juvenile salmonids survival, growth and swimming performance to help facilitate successful telemetry studies to be conducted with wild smolts in the field.