• Effects of marine-derived nutrients on population dynamics of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

      Uchiyama, Tadayasu (2006-08)
      The effects of marine-derived nutrients (MDN) on the productivity of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) stocks in Alaska were examined through nitrogen stable isotope analysis of smolts and mathematical models of the sockeye stock-recruit relationship. Smolt 8 [delta]¹⁵N was used to infer the degree to which smolts depend on MDN for their growth. We attempted to identify the characteristics of sockeye nursery lakes and watersheds that affect the availability of MDN to juvenile sockeye using multiple regression. Stock-recruit models incorporating MDN effects were fit to sockeye escapement-return data to test if fluctuations in sockeye stock productivity could be explained by changes in MDN input into nursery lakes. The magnitude of escapement and water residence time were the most important factors affecting the MDN availability to juvenile salmon. Mixing state of lakes and the distance from the coast were also found to significantly affect the MDN availability. We found that regional environmental fluctuations had a large effect on stock productivities in stock-recruit modeling. However, we did not find strong evidence to support our hypothesis that increases in MDN input to nursery lakes will result in increased productivity of sockeye stocks. Stock-recruitment data may be poorly suited to detection of the influence of MDN.