Winter Ecology of Chinook Salmon in the Canadian Salish Sea
Chinook Salmon are a species of high ecological, economic and cultural value in BC. Recent declines in Chinook Salmon abundance have highlighted a need to understand factors controlling their productivity. One hypothesis suggests that the first winter in the ocean plays a critical role in controlling Chinook Salmon survival, and in turn, abundance. Little research has been conducted during the winter, limiting our understanding of this potentially critical period. We will conduct a two-year investigation of Chinook Salmon overwintering in the Strait of Georgia to try to understand if, and why, juvenile salmon may be dying during winter. We will investigate whether availability of food; temperature; growth conditions during the preceding summer; or disease may influence the ability of Chinook Salmon to survive the winter. Our results will help managers to understand how the potential of the ocean to produce Chinook Salmon may change with a changing climate.