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Article
Spatial variation in environmental characteristics of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) rivers
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (1998)
  • Scott R. Elliott, University of Washington
  • Treva A. Coe
  • James M. Helfield, University of Washington
  • Robert J. Naiman, University of Washington
Abstract
Rivers and streams occupied by anadromous Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) occur across a diverse array of landscapes. This article describes the general ecology of these rivers and streams, including many of the physical and biological variables that are important characteristics of all lotic systems. For analytical purposes, the geographic range of Atlantic salmon rivers is divided into five regions, based on geomorphology and climate. The physical habitat available to anadromous Atlantic salmon is diverse. The geology varies from granitic bedrock to volcanic and glacial substrates, which influence a broad array of other ecological variables, ranging from water chemistry to catchment morphology (e.g., river length). Flood regimes and system hydrology are dependent, as expected, on climate. Many of the catchments receive substantial precipitation in the form of snow; rivers in four of the five regions experience primarily spring freshets. Aquatic temperatures are also variable, representing close to the full range of thermal tolerance of S. salar, with lows just above 0°C in the northernmost latitudes to summer highs in western Europe approaching 25°C. Most rivers are best characterized as oligotrophic with relatively low annual primary productivity. However, physical factors such as availability of suitable spawning and rearing habitat, as well as aquatic temperature and flow regimes, may drive anadromous productivity. In general, most of the rivers have been modified by flow regulation and many suffer from impacts related to other anthropogenic disturbances, principally riparian forest clearing for agriculture, forestry, and urban development. We conclude that the rivers and streams occupied by anadromous Atlantic salmon are diverse across the species’ range and have been heavily impacted by anthropogenic disturbances.
Keywords
  • Atlantic salmon,
  • Atlantic salmon rivers
Publication Date
1998
DOI
10.1139/d98-001
Citation Information
Scott R. Elliott, Treva A. Coe, James M. Helfield and Robert J. Naiman. "Spatial variation in environmental characteristics of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) rivers" Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Vol. 55 (1998) p. 267 - 280
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/helfield_james/14/