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Returning chum salmon shift metabolism to cope with different river temperatures

Category: News Release

 Feb 12th, 2019 by Keith Worrall  229

Modified Feb 12th, 2019 at 4:33 PM

From the rivers of the Pacific Northwest to those of Russia and Japan, tenacious adult chum salmon converge on their spawning grounds in autumn and early winter to reinitiate the cycle of life. However, Takaaki Abe from The University of Tokyo, Japan, explains that the odysseys endured by the returning fish are not always equal. Fish returning at the beginning of the spawning season will encounter water temperatures around 20°C, while those returning late in the season often endure temperatures that are 10°C lower. This can make a huge difference to cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals, such as fish, which depend on the environment for their body temperature and metabolic performance. Wondering how the fish adapt to the challenges of migrating at different temperatures, Abe and his colleagues Takashi Kitagawa, Yuya Makiguchi and Katsufumi Sato decided to find out how fish returning to two rivers on the Sanriku coast of northern Japan at different stages of the spawning season cope.

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