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Salmon Ecology


Spawning in the Central Valley

An introduction to salmon spawning used in classrooms throughout California to give students hatching salmon eggs in aquariums an idea of the natural process.

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Anadromous fish

Salmon returning from the ocean bring nutrients to their birth streams.

Special thanks to Tim Heyne, California Department of Fish and Game Senior Environmental Scientist, for his narration.

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Eggs & juveniles

Unusual footage of salmon eggs bouncing on the river bottom and juveniles feeding and hiding along the banks.  

Special thanks to Doug Killam, Associate Fisheries Biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, for the use of his footage.

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Chinook runs

A brief description of the four runs in the Central Valley of California.

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Web of life

Salmon are a "keystone species" which have a dynamic effect on the other plants and animals in their ecosystem.

Special thanks for Tim Heyne, California Department of Fish and Game Senior Environmental Scientist, for his narration.

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Expanding their habitat

The competition for nesting sites encourage salmon to expand the range of their habitat. And the natural tendency of some spawners to stray from their birth stream also enabled them to re-colonize rivers as the ice sheets retreated at the end of the ice ages. At the peak of the last ice age, the northern edge of salmon habitat was Southern California and as the ice sheet over North America melted, they migrated northward until reaching the Arctic Sea. This dynamic also functions when they re-enter restored rivers and is likely to happen when water flows back into the dry areas of the San Joaquin River.

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