Potamodromy in Salmonidae - living and moving in the fast lane


T G. Northcote

Publication Date



streams, life history, history, habitat, survival, spawning, homing

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


2 thymalline species, and 19 salmonine species to uncover common and contrastingmigratory Potamodromy is examined for river-dwelling populations of 13 coregonine species,patterns in flowing waters. Members of these subfamilies probably have recolonized rivers and streams repeatedly over the past million years or more in the face of several glaciations, icerecessions, and interglacial periods. To do so they may have evolved migratory behaviouralpatterns adapted to life in fast-running, cold, highly turbid, changeable, and unpredictable loticsystems. Their migratory behaviour coalesces into three cyclic patterns of movement (trophic,refuge, and reproductive) to gain access at appropriate times in their life histories or seasonalperiods to three patchily distributed but critical types of habitat (feeding, survival, and spawning).Trophic and refuge movements to respective feeding and survival habitats show considerable sitefidelity and, though changing over individual life spans of some species considered, remainsimilar between successive generations. Reproductive movements to spawning habitats showhigh levels of site fidelity (homing) from parent to offspring and for repeat-spawning individuals.Specialized features of potamodromy are briefly discussed in relation to long-term occupation ofriverine systems. Comments are made on the complexity of salmonid potamodromy in relation tofisheries management practices.





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