Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Pink salmon


Diphyllobothriosis is reemerging because of global importation and increased popularity of eating raw fish. We detected Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense plerocercoids in the musculature of wild pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) from Alaska, USA. Therefore, salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.

Concepts: United States, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Pacific Ocean, Canada, North America, Chum salmon, Pink salmon


The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in March 1989 in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and was one of the worst environmental disasters on record in the United States. Despite long-term data collection over the nearly three decades since the spill, tremendous uncertainty remains as to how significantly the spill affected fishery resources. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) and some wild Pacific salmon populations (Oncorhynchus spp.) in Prince William Sound declined in the early 1990s, and have not returned to the population sizes observed in the 1980s. Discerning if, or how much of, this decline resulted from the oil spill has been difficult because a number of other physical and ecological drivers are confounded temporally with the spill; some of these drivers include environmental variability or changing climate regimes, increased production of hatchery salmon in the region, and increases in populations of potential predators. Using data pre- and post-spill, we applied time-series methods to evaluate support for whether and how herring and salmon productivity has been affected by each of five drivers: (1) density dependence, (2) the EVOS event, (3) changing environmental conditions, (4) interspecific competition on juvenile fish, and (5) predation and competition from adult fish or, in the case of herring, humpback whales. Our results showed support for intraspecific density-dependent effects in herring, sockeye, and Chinook salmon, with little overall support for an oil spill effect. Of the salmon species, the largest driver was the negative impact of adult pink salmon returns on sockeye salmon productivity. Herring productivity was most strongly affected by changing environmental conditions; specifically, freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska was linked to a series of recruitment failures-before, during, and after EVOS. These results highlight the need to better understand long terms impacts of pink salmon on food webs, as well as the interactions between nearshore species and freshwater inputs, particularly as they relate to climate change and increasing water temperatures.

Concepts: Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Alaska, Pacific Ocean, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Chum salmon, Pink salmon, Prince William Sound


Salmon represented a critical resource for prehistoric foragers along the North Pacific Rim, and continue to be economically and culturally important; however, the origins of salmon exploitation remain unresolved. Here we report 11,500-y-old salmon associated with a cooking hearth and human burials from the Upward Sun River Site, near the modern extreme edge of salmon habitat in central Alaska. This represents the earliest known human use of salmon in North America. Ancient DNA analyses establish the species as Oncorhynchus keta (chum salmon), and stable isotope analyses indicate anadromy, suggesting that salmon runs were established by at least the terminal Pleistocene. The early use of this resource has important implications for Paleoindian land use, economy, and expansions into northwest North America.

Concepts: United States, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Pacific Ocean, North America, Chum salmon, Sockeye salmon, Pink salmon


In rivers supporting Pacific salmon in southeast Alaska, USA, regional trends toward a warmer, wetter climate are predicted to increase mid- and late-21st-century mean annual flood size by 17% and 28%, respectively. Increased flood size could alter stream habitats used by Pacific salmon for reproduction, with negative consequences for the substantial economic, cultural, and ecosystem services these fish provide. We combined field measurements and model simulations to estimate the potential influence of future flood disturbance on geomorphic processes controlling the quality and extent of coho, chum, and pink salmon spawning habitat in over 800 southeast Alaska watersheds. Spawning habitat responses varied widely across watersheds and among salmon species. Little variation among watersheds in potential spawning habitat change was explained by predicted increases in mean annual flood size. Watershed response diversity was mediated primarily by topographic controls on stream channel confinement, reach-scale geomorphic associations with spawning habitat preferences, and complexity in the pace and mode of geomorphic channel responses to altered flood size. Potential spawning habitat loss was highest for coho salmon, which spawn over a wide range of geomorphic settings, including steeper, confined stream reaches that are more susceptible to streambed scour during high flows. We estimated that 9-10% and 13-16% of the spawning habitat for coho salmon could be lost by the 2040s and 2080s, respectively, with losses occurring primarily in confined, higher-gradient streams that provide only moderate-quality habitat. Estimated effects were lower for pink and chum salmon, which primarily spawn in unconfined floodplain streams. Our results illustrate the importance of accounting for valley and reach-scale geomorphic features in watershed assessments of climate vulnerability, especially in topographically complex regions. Failure to consider the geomorphic context of stream networks will hamper efforts to understand and mitigate the vulnerability of anadromous fish habitat to climate-induced hydrologic change.

Concepts: Hydrology, River, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Chum salmon, Pink salmon, Geomorphology, Forage fish


Cross-boundary nutrient inputs can enhance and sustain populations of organisms in nutrient-poor recipient ecosystems. For example, Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) can deliver large amounts of marine-derived nutrients to freshwater ecosystems through their eggs, excretion, or carcasses. This has led to the question of whether nutrients from one generation of salmon can benefit juvenile salmon from subsequent generations. In a study of 12 streams on the central coast of British Columbia, we found that the abundance of juvenile coho salmon was most closely correlated with the abundance of adult pink salmon from previous years. There was a secondary role for adult chum salmon and watershed size, followed by other physical characteristics of streams. Most of the coho sampled emerged in the spring, and had little to no direct contact with spawning salmon nutrients at the time of sampling in the summer and fall. A combination of techniques suggest that subsidies from spawning salmon can have a strong, positive, time-delayed influence on the productivity of salmon-bearing streams through indirect effects from previous spawning events. This is the first study on the impacts of nutrients from naturally-occurring spawning salmon on juvenile population abundance of other salmon species.

Concepts: Ecology, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Columbia River, Chum salmon, Sockeye salmon, Pink salmon, Coho salmon


Triploid fish has become an important item of commercial aquaculture, but data on its fatty acid (FA) composition are still controversial, especially regarding essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA). We studied FA composition and content of diploid and triploid pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, reared in aquaculture in a bay of the White Sea (Russia). FA composition, measured as percentages of total FA of triploids and immature diploid females significantly differed from that of mature diploid fish. Specifically, mature diploids had higher percentage of EPA and DHA in their muscle tissue (filets) compared to that of triploids and immature diploid females. Nevertheless, the contents of EPA and DHA per mass of the filets in diploid and triploid specimens were similar. Thus, no special efforts are needed to improve EPA and DHA contents in filets of triploids.

Concepts: Fatty acids, Omega-3 fatty acid, Carboxylic acid, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Eicosapentaenoic acid, Docosahexaenoic acid, Pink salmon


Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) stocks throughout the southern part of their North American range have experienced declines in productivity over the past two decades. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that pink (O. gorbuscha) and chum (O. keta) salmon stocks have also experienced recent declines in productivity by investigating temporal and spatial trends in productivity of 99 wild North American pink and chum salmon stocks. We used a combination of population dynamics and time series models to quantify individual stock trends as well as common temporal trends in pink and chum salmon productivity across local, regional, and continental spatial scales. Our results indicated widespread declines in productivity of wild chum salmon stocks throughout Washington (WA) and British Columbia (BC) with 81% of stocks showing recent declines in productivity, although the exact form of the trends varied among regions. For pink salmon, the majority of stocks in WA and BC (65%) did not have strong temporal trends in productivity; however, all stocks that did have trends in productivity showed declining productivity since at least brood year 1996. We found weaker evidence of widespread declines in productivity for Alaska pink and chum salmon, with some regions and stocks showing declines in productivity (e.g., Kodiak chum salmon stocks) and others showing increases (e.g., Alaska Peninsula pink salmon stocks). We also found strong positive covariation between stock productivity series at the regional spatial scale for both pink and chum salmon, along with evidence that this regional-scale positive covariation has become stronger since the early 1990s in WA and BC. In general, our results suggest that common processes operating at the regional or multi-regional spatial scales drive productivity of pink and chum salmon stocks in western North America and that the effects of these process on productivity may change over time.

Concepts: Salmon, Oncorhynchus, North America, Chum salmon, Sockeye salmon, Pink salmon


The approximately 1.5 million tons of salmon traded in 31 countries in 2008 provides clear evidence that salmon is a popular food source throughout the world. There are many methods for the preservation of salmon flesh, such as vacuum-packaging, smoking, and freezing. Ultra-high pressure (UHP) does not require heat, preserves the quality of salmon flesh, and allows for an increase in the chilled storage period. In this study, the quality of salmon flesh was assessed after exposure to UHP (200, 400, or 600 MPa compared with no UHP) and 30 d of storage at 4 °C. Salmon flesh quality analyses included the degree of changes in the interspacing of muscle bundles, color, texture profiles (hardness, chewiness, cohesiveness, and elasticity), and microbial growth. The use of UHP (>400 MPa) improved the color, hardness, and chewiness of the flesh. Study results suggested that the application of UHP (≥400 MPa) may be useful in preserving salmon flesh, and could be used by the salmon aquaculture and distribution industries.

Concepts: Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Food preservation, Chum salmon, Sockeye salmon, Pink salmon


This article is devoted to presenting the hypothesis explaining the fact of a considerable prevalence of phenotypic males among the triploid pink salmon as well as the regular occurrence of intersexes, which were revealed by us. This hypothesis also explains the large proportion (in some cases) in pink salmon populations of the individuals whose genetic sex does not match the phenotypic sex. We assume that the genes encoding the factors that contribute to the transformation of individuals into males (but not the marker sequences of the Y chromosome) are present not only in the Y chromosome of pink salmon but also in the X chromosome, although in smaller quantities.

Concepts: Gene, Chromosome, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Chum salmon, Pink salmon, XY sex-determination system, Salmon pink


Mature male Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) develop a hooknose, as a secondary male sexual characteristic, during the spawning period. It is likely that androgens regulate hooknose formation. However, endocrinological and histochemical details about the relationship between androgens and hooknose formation are poorly understood. In this study, we performed assays of serum androgens, detection of androgen receptor (AR) in hooknose tissues, external morphological measurement of hooknose-related lengths, and microscopic observation of hooknose tissues of pink salmon (O. gorbuscha) at different stages of sexual maturation. Expression of the arβ gene was detected in hooknose tissues of males but not females. The elongation of these tissues was mediated directly via androgens. Serum 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) concentrations indicated a significant positive correlation with both jaw lengths during sexual maturation of males. In the upper jaw, cartilage tissue developed during hooknose formation, and AR-immunoreactive chondrocytes were located in the rostal-vetral regions of hooknose cartilage in maturing male. The chondrocytes in maturing males before entering into rivers exhibited rich-cytoplasm with high cell activity than at other sexual development stages. On the other hand, in the lower jaw, the development of the spongiosa-like bone meshworks. AR-immunoreactivity was detected in a proportion of the osteocytes and osteoblast-like cells in the spongiosa-like bone meshworks. These results indicate that hooknose formation in pink salmon, which is associated with the buildup of a structure with sufficient strength that it can be used to attack other males on the spawning ground, is regulated by 11-KT.

Concepts: Bone, Testosterone, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Jaw, Chum salmon, Pink salmon, Salmon pink