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Incubation sensitivity to winter temperatures in four DUs of Atlantic salmon in Canada

Recipient: Memorial University (Purchase)
Approved Amount: $42,000 for 2016 (3 year project, total: $95,000)
Year Approved: 2016

Early development is a critical stage for salmon; even short term perturbations can have life-long and transgenerational consequences. Climate change is predicted to increase mean temperature and variability, particularly in winter. How salmon will respond to this is not known, and all populations are not likely to respond similarly. COSEWIC recognizes 16 Designatable Units (DUs) of Atlantic salmon that represent discrete groups of populations of evolutionarily importance. This proposal examines temperature fluctuations on development in 4 DUs, representing >50% of the salmon rivers in Atlantic Canada.

Phase 1 will alter incubation conditions and monitor development of salmon from the Exploits River (likely the largest population in Canada at present). Results will inform on Phase 2, where genetic differences will be compared among 8 rivers from 4 DUs (Labrador, Northeast Newfoundland, South NL, Northwest NL). Effects of incubation conditions will be monitored to the end of the fry stage.

Contact: Craig Purchase, 709-864-4452,