The Ecology of Juvenile Salmon in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: Regional Comparisons

The Ocean Ecology of Salmon in the Northeast Pacific Ocean—An Abridged History

William G. Pearcy and Stewart M. McKinnell

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569957.ch2

Abstract.—Research on the ecology of salmon in the northeast Pacific Ocean began in the early 20th century. Charles Gilbert and Willis Rich demonstrated the basis for the stock concept and were instrumental in changing common misconceptions of the times. Later in the 1900s, research endeavors, primarily under the auspices of the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission, led to important studies on the distribution and migration of maturing salmon on the high seas. Research on the early juvenile period was initiated later, especially after the 1982–1983 El Niño clearly showed the limits of the ocean’s carrying capacity along the west coast of the United States. There is now good evidence for both intra- and interspecific competition among salmon in the open ocean and for correlations between variable physical environments, such as El Niños and regime shifts, and survival of salmon during early ocean life. How mortality rates are affected by physical forcing, food availability, predation, and food web structure and how these effects will be modified by climate change and global warming are all major challenges for the future.