Section 38
Chapter 37,411

Diel vertical distribution of early marine phase juvenile pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha and behaviour when exposed to salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis

Tang, S.; Lewis, A.G.; Sackville, M.; Nendick, L.; DiBacco, C.; Brauner, C.J.; Farrell, A.P.

Canadian Journal of Zoology 89(9): 796-807


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4301
DOI: 10.1139/z11-049
Accession: 037410838

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We observed diel vertical migration patterns in juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha (Walbaum, 1792)) and tested the hypothesis that fish behaviour is altered by exposure to sea lice copepodids. Experiments involved replicated field deployments of a large (9 m) plankton column, which provided a vertical distribution enclosure under natural light and salinity conditions. Diel vertical distributions of juvenile pink salmon were observed during the first 3 weeks of seawater acclimation in both the presence and the absence of the ectoparasitic salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Kroyer, 1838)). Immediately upon entering seawater, juvenile pink salmon preferred the top 1 m of the water column, but they moved significantly deeper down the vertical water column as seawater acclimation time increased. A significant diel migration pattern was observed, which involved a preference for the surface at night-time, compared with daytime. When fish in the column were exposed to L salmonis copepodids for 3 h, 43%-62% of fish became infected, fish expanded their vertical distribution range, and significant changes in vertical distribution patterns were observed.

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