ECOSYSTEMS

Salmon teleconnection disservice

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Science  15 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6394, pp. 1199-1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6394.1199-b

Pink salmon spawning in an Alaskan river

PHOTO: MICHAEL QUINTON/MINDEN PICTURES

Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) populations in the North Pacific have grown during the past four decades. Fish numbers have expanded partly in response to climate change and partly because of hatchery release from Russia and the United States. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not entirely good news. Among other problems of competition, Springer et al. have discovered a remarkable 15,000-kilometer link between the pink salmon and the migration of a shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris), which nests in Australia and New Zealand and winters in the North Pacific. Using data collected from ship-towed continuous plankton recorders, Batten et al. show that the pink salmon's consumption of zooplankton could be the cause of starvation and mass mortality of the birds. This in turn affects Pacific aboriginal societies that harvest the returning birds for food.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1720577115 (2018); Fisher. Oceanogr. 10.1111/fog.12276 (2018).

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