Differential impacts of freshwater and marine covariates on wild and hatchery Chinook salmon marine survival
Large-scale atmospheric conditions in the Northeast Pacific Ocean affect both the freshwater environment in the Columbia River Basin and marine conditions along the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, resulting in correlated conditions in the two environments. For migrating species, such as salmonids that move through multiple habitats, these correlations can amplify the impact of good or poor physical conditions on growth and survival, as movements among habitats may not alleviate effects of anomalous conditions. Unfortunately, identifying the mechanistic drivers of salmon survival in space and time is hindered by these cross-habitat correlations. To address this issue, we modeled the marine survival of Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon with multiple indices of the marine environment and an explicit treatment of the effect of arrival timing from freshwater to the ocean, and found that both habitats contribute to marine survival rates. We show how this particular carryover effect of freshwater conditions on marine survival varies by year and rearing type (hatchery or wild), with a larger effect for wild fish. As environmental conditions change, incorporating effects from both freshwater and marine habitats into salmon survival models will become more important, and has the additional benefit of highlighting how management actions that affect arrival timing may improve marine survival.