Impacts of Climatic Change and Fishing on Pacific Salmon Abundance Over the Past 300 Years

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Science  27 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5492, pp. 795-799
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5492.795

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The effects of climate variability on Pacific salmon abundance are uncertain because historical records are short and are complicated by commercial harvesting and habitat alteration. We use lake sediment records of δ15N and biological indicators to reconstruct sockeye salmon abundance in the Bristol Bay and Kodiak Island regions of Alaska over the past 300 years. Marked shifts in populations occurred over decades during this period, and some pronounced changes appear to be related to climatic change. Variations in salmon returns due to climate or harvesting can have strong impacts on sockeye nursery lake productivity in systems where adult salmon carcasses are important nutrient sources.

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