Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fulton River Facility Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels (Videos/Photos)

On September 11, 2015 my wife, Peanut our dog and I headed up to Granisle, British Columbia to take in some of the sites, also we knew that the Sockeye Salmon were spawning and there is a facility set up to monitor the salmon and spawning channels were built to better the amounts of salmon returning each year.

So below I have some of the photos I took, along with a number of video clips of the Sockeye Salmon spawning.

Sockeye Return From The Ocean.

Source Text  Information Below: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at:

After several years wandering huge distances in the ocean, most surviving salmon return to the same natal rivers where they were spawned. Then most of them swim up the rivers until they reach the very spawning ground that was their original birthplace.

There are various theories about how this happens. One theory is that there are geomagnetic and chemical cues which the salmon use to guide them back to their birthplace. The fish may be sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field, which could allow the fish to orient itself in the ocean, so it can navigate back to the estuary of its natal stream.

Above Photo: One of the many “Beware Of The Bear Signs” around the spawning grounds.

Salmon have a strong sense of smell. Speculation about whether odors provide homing cues go back to the 19th century. In 1951, Hasler hypothesized that, once in vicinity of the estuary or entrance to its birth river, salmon may use chemical cues which they can smell, and which are unique to their natal stream, as a mechanism to home onto the entrance of the stream. 

In 1978, Hasler and his students convincingly showed that the way salmon locate their home rivers with such precision was indeed because they could recognize its characteristic smell. They further demonstrated that the smell of their river becomes imprinted in salmon when they transform into smolts, just before they migrate out to sea. 

Above Photo: Just one of the information signs around the salmon spawning grounds.

Homecoming salmon can also recognize characteristic smells in tributary streams as they move up the main river. They may also be sensitive to characteristic pheromones given off by juvenile conspecifics. There is evidence that they can "discriminate between two populations of their own species".

The recognition that each river and tributary has its own characteristic smell, and the role this plays as a navigation aid, led to a widespread search for a mechanism or mechanisms that might allow salmon to navigate over long distances in the open ocean. In 1977, Leggett identified, as mechanisms worth investigating, the use of the sun for navigation, and orientation to various possible gradients, such as temperature, salinity or chemicals gradients, or geomagnetic or geoelectric fields.

There is little evidence salmon use clues from the sun for navigation. Migrating salmon have been observed maintaining direction at nighttime and when it is cloudy. Likewise, electronically tagged salmon were observed to maintain direction even when swimming in water much too deep for sunlight to be of use.

Above Photo: If you look at the blue colored building which sits high over the water, you will see a man inside the building counting the sockeye salmon as they pass through an opening in the pen below. Actually there is an excellent video I took of just this after the text information about the spawning grounds.

In 1973, it was shown that Atlantic salmon have conditioned cardiac responses to electric fields with strengths similar to those found in oceans. "This sensitivity might allow a migrating fish to align itself upstream or downstream in an ocean current in the absence of fixed references." 

In 1988, researchers found iron, in the form of single domain magnetite, resides in the skulls of sockeye salmon. The quantities present are sufficient for magnetoception.

Tagging studies have shown a small number of fish don't find their natal rivers, but travel instead up other, usually nearby streams or rivers. It is important some salmon stray from their home areas; otherwise new habitats could not be colonized. In 1984, Quinn hypothesized there is a dynamic equilibrium, controlled by genes, between homing and straying. 

Above Photo: Sockeye Salmon heading into the Fulton River spawning channels at Granisle, British Columbia. 

If the spawning grounds have a uniform high quality, then natural selection should favour the descendants that home accurately. However, if the spawning grounds have a variable quality, then natural selection should favor a mixture of the descendants that stray and the descendants that home accurately.

Prior to the run up the river, the salmon undergo profound physiological changes. Fish swim by contracting longitudinal red muscle and obliquely oriented white muscles. Red muscles are used for sustained activity, such as ocean migrations. White muscles are used for bursts of activity, such as bursts of speed or jumping. 

Above Photo: Another look at the complete facility.

As the salmon comes to end of its ocean migration and enters the estuary of its natal river, its energy metabolism is faced with two major challenges: it must supply energy suitable for swimming the river rapids, and it must supply the sperm and eggs required for the reproductive events ahead. The water in the estuary receives the freshwater discharge from the natal river. 

Relative to ocean water, this has a high chemical load from surface runoff. Researchers in 2009 found evidence that, as the salmon encounter the resulting drop in salinity and increase in olfactory stimulation, two key metabolic changes are triggered: there is a switch from using red muscles for swimming to using white muscles, and there is an increase in the sperm and egg load. "Pheromones at the spawning grounds (trigger) a second shift to further enhance reproductive loading."

The salmon also undergo radical morphological changes as they prepare for the spawning event ahead. All salmon lose the silvery blue they had as ocean fish, and their colour darkens, sometimes with a radical change in hue. Salmon are sexually dimorphic, and the male salmon develop canine teeth and their jaws develop a pronounced curve or hook (kype). Some species of male salmon grow large humps.

Clip 1 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

Clip 2 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

Clip 3 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

Clip 4 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

Clip 5 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

Clip 6 - Fulton River Sockeye Salmon Spawning Channels Granisle, British Columbia. 

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