Life history modelling project for wild Atlantic salmon

Recipient: Dalhousie University (Hutchings)
Approved Amount: $37,500 for 2018 (2nd year of 2-year project, total: $75,000)

Many populations of Atlantic salmon that range in North America from the Connecticut River, USA to Kapisillit River, Greenland are currently experiencing high levels of natural mortality. Several populations are listed as endangered or threatened. Extraordinary losses occur in the estuarine and marine environment but the causes, locations, and timing of the various sources of mortality and stage in the life history are largely unknown. To identify and quantify factors responsible for mortality it is necessary to look at options or possibilities for project planning that may lead to mitigation or cessation of those causative factors, i.e. threats. The objective of this planned work is to develop a stochastic, dynamic life history model that can be used to further explore the factors affecting the survival of Atlantic salmon. The work will involve, but not be limited to, analyses of per capita population growth, life-history elasticity, model sensitivity, and patterns of density dependence (including Allee effects) at different spatio-temporal scales. The model parameters will be based on a review of data throughout the geographic range of the species, updating one undertaken in 1998. The over-arching goal of the project is to apply the model to address fundamental questions pertaining to population viability of Atlantic salmon.
Contact: Dr. Jeff Hutchings, 902-494-2687,