The activity of the pituitary-gonadal axis (PG axis) in pre-migratory and homing chum salmon was examined because endocrine mechanisms underlying the onset of spawning migration remain unknown. Pre-migratory fish were caught in the central Bering Sea in June, July and September 2001, 2002 and 2003, and in the Gulf of Alaska in February 2006. They were classified into immature and maturing adults on the basis of gonadal development. The maturing adults commenced spawning migration to coastal areas by the end of summer, because almost all fish in the Bering Sea were immature in September. In the pituitaries of maturing adults, the copy numbers of FSHbeta mRNA and the FSH content were 2.5- to 100-fold those of the immature fish. Similarly, the amounts of LHbeta mRNA and LH content in the maturing adults were 100- to 1000-fold those of immature fish. The plasma levels of testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone and estradiol were higher than 10 nmol l(-1) in maturing adults, but lower than 1.0 nmol l(-1) in immature fish. The increase in the activity of the PG-axis components had already initiated in the maturing adults while they were still in the Gulf of Alaska in winter. In the homing adults, the pituitary contents and the plasma levels of gonadotropins and plasma sex steroid hormones peaked during upstream migration from the coast to the natal hatchery. The present results thus indicate that the seasonal increase in the activity of the PG axis is an important endocrine event that is inseparable from initiation of spawning migration of chum salmon.
Investigations were carried out at two stations of Ornithological Unit, IBPN FEB RAS, located in Nizhnekolymsk District, Yakutia, starting from May 15-20 in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990; at the northern coast of Pukhovoy Bay, Southern Island of Novaya Zemlya starting from June 1 in 1994; at Cape Beliy Nos, the Yugorsky Peninsula, starting from June 1 in 1995-1997. Classic associations are detected in interspecies flocks of sandpipers between the following species: the Pacific golden plover and the curlew sandpiper, the pectoral sandpiper and the long-billed dowitcher, the pectoral sandpiper and the dunlin, the grey plover and the dunlin. However, total amount of birds that form associations is not large. In species of group "A" (the grey plover, the Pacific golden plover, the pectoral sandpiper), no difference has been observed in migratory birds behavior within inter- or conspecific flocks. Species of group "B" (the dunlin, the curlew sandpiper, the long-billed dowitcher), on the contrary, change their behavior sharply depending on whether they belong to an association or not. Species of group "A" do not get any advantages when forming an association. Unlike them, species of group "B" profit from associating: a part of time spent in foraging substantially increases; more time is spent on rest and less time is spent on reconnaissance and vigilance (readiness for actions); safety of birds is enhanced. On the other hand, in species of group "B" there are also disadvantages related with associating: i.e., interspecies competition for food; foraging in suboptimal habitats which, in turn, may lead to notable increase of time spent by birds in foraging. An assumption is put forward that in species of group "B" advantages and limitations of associating cancel each other to a certain extent, and this explains rather small number of birds forming associations.
A recent study has found that sparrows moved gradually east above the Arctic Circle completely altered their migration strategy after encountering the massive natural change in declination near the magnetic pole. This should not happen--or should it?
Migratory species display a range of migration patterns between irruptive (facultative) to regular (obligate), as a response to different predictability of resources. In the Arctic, snow directly influences resource availability. The causes and consequences of different migration patterns of migratory species as a response to the snow conditions remains however unexplored. Birds migrating to the Arctic are expected to follow the spring snowmelt to optimise their arrival time and select for snow-free areas to maximise prey encounter en-route. Based on large-scale movement data, we compared the migration patterns of three top predator species of the tundra in relation to the spatio-temporal dynamics of snow cover. The snowy owl, an irruptive migrant, the rough-legged buzzard, with an intermediary migration pattern, and the peregrine falcon as a regular migrant, all followed, as expected, the spring snowmelt during their migrations. However, the owl stayed ahead, the buzzard stayed on, and the falcon stayed behind the spatio-temporal peak in snowmelt. Although none of the species avoided snow-covered areas, they presumably used snow presence as a cue to time their arrival at their breeding grounds. We show the importance of environmental cues for species with different migration patterns.
Freshwater fish populations are rapidly declining globally due to the impacts of rapid climate change and existing non-climatic anthropogenic stressors. In response to these drivers, freshwater fishes are responding by shifting their distribution range, altering the timing of migration and spawning and through demographic processes. By 2050, the mean daily air temperature is predicted to increase by 2 to 3 degrees C in insular Newfoundland and by 3 to 4 degrees C in Labrador. Mean daily precipitation is also projected to increase in all locations, with increased intensity projected for several regions. To mitigate negative consequences of these changes, managers require analytical approaches that describe the vulnerability of fish to climate change. To address this need, the current study adopts the National Marine Fisheries Service vulnerability assessment framework to characterize the vulnerability of freshwater fishes in Newfoundland and Labrador. Twelve vulnerability indicators were developed from an extensive literature review and applied to the assessment. Experts were solicited using an online questionnaire survey and scores for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were collated and analyzed to derive a final vulnerability score and rank for each species. The analysis showed one species to be of high-very high vulnerability, two species were highly vulnerable while four species were moderately vulnerable to climate change. The result provides insight into the factors that drive vulnerability of freshwater fishes in the region, this information is significant to decision-makers and other stakeholders engaged in managing freshwater fish resources in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A better understanding of the environmental and genetic contribution to migratory behavior and the evolution of traits linked to migration is crucial for fish conservation and fisheries management. Up to date, a few genes with unequivocal influence on the adoption of alternative migration strategies have been identified in salmonids. Here, we used a common garden set-up to measure individual migration distances of generally highly polymorphic brown trout Salmo trutta from two populations. Fish from the assumedly resident population showed clearly shorter migration distances than the fish from the assumed migratory population at the ages of 2 and 3 years. By using two alternative analytical pipelines with 22186 and 18264 SNPs obtained through RAD-sequencing, we searched for associations between individual migration distance, and both called genotypes and genotype probabilities. None of the SNPs showed statistically significant individual effects on migration after correction for multiple testing. By choosing a less stringent threshold, defined as an overlap of the top 0.1% SNPs identified by the analytical pipelines, GAPIT and Angsd, we identified eight candidate genes that are potentially linked to individual migration distance. While our results demonstrate large individual and population level differences in migration distances, the detected genetic associations were weak suggesting that migration traits likely have multigenic control.
Anadromous salmon and sea trout smolts face challenging migrations from freshwater to the marine environment characterised by high mortality. Therefore, the timing of smolt migration is likely to be critical for survival. Time-series comparing migration of Atlantic salmon and sea trout smolts in the same river, and their response to the same environmental cues, are scarce. Here, we analysed migration timing of ~41 000 Atlantic salmon and sea trout smolts over a 19-year period from the river Guddalselva, western Norway. Trout displayed a longer migration window in earlier years, which decreased over time to become more similar to the salmon migration window. On average, salmon migrated out of the river earlier than trout. Migration of both species was significantly influenced by river water temperature and water discharge, but their relative influence varied across the years. On average, body-length of smolts of both species overlapped, however, size differences were observed within the migration period and among the years. We conclude that salmon and trout smolts in this river are highly synchronised and migrate in response to the same range of linked environmental cues.
Despite clear benefits of optimal arrival time on breeding grounds, migration schedules may vary with an individual bird's innate quality, non-breeding habitat or breeding destination. Here, we show that for the bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri), a shorebird that makes the longest known non-stop migratory flights of any bird, timing of migration for individual birds from a non-breeding site in New Zealand was strongly correlated with their specific breeding latitudes in Alaska, USA, a 16,000-18,000 km journey away. Furthermore, this variation carried over even to the southbound return migration, 6 months later, with birds returning to New Zealand in approximately the same order in which they departed. These tightly scheduled movements on a global scale suggest endogenously controlled routines, with breeding site as the primary driver of temporal variation throughout the annual cycle.
An increase in activity of the pituitary-gonadal axis (PG-axis) and gonadal development are essential for the onset of spawning migration of chum salmon from the Bering Sea. In the Bering Sea, fish with larger body sizes initiated gonadal development and commenced spawning migration to the natal river by the end of summer. We thus hypothesized that insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a somatotropic signal that interacts with the PG-axis, can be one of such factors responsible for the onset of migration, and examined changes in plasma levels and hepatic expression of IGF-I gene in oceanic and homing chum salmon in 2001-2003. The plasma IGF-I levels and corresponding body sizes in maturing adults, which had developing gonads, were significantly higher than those in immature fish in all years examined. Such increase in the plasma IGF-I levels in maturing fish was observed even in the Gulf of Alaska during February 2006, while coincident increase was not observed in the hepatic amounts of IGF-I mRNA. In autumn, the plasma IGF-I levels in homing adults decreased during upstream migration in the Ishikari River-Ishikari bay water system in Hokkaido, Japan. In conclusion, the plasma IGF-I levels increased with gonadal development when chum salmon migrated from the winter Gulf of Alaska to the summer Bering Sea. Circulating IGF-I may interact with the PG-axis and promote gonadal development that is inseparable from the onset of spawning migration. Circulating IGF-I levels were thereafter lowered in accordance with final maturation during upstream migration in the breeding season.