Salmon are being pushed north as their traditional habitat changes
American scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks have confirmed that some species of salmon are spawning in the Arctic Ocean watershed. According to them, global warming has had a significant impact on this. The study was conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The specialists found about 100 chum salmon in the Anaktuvuk and Itkillik rivers on Alaska’s North Slope. Both rivers flow into the Colville River, which empties into the Arctic Ocean. All the fish that researchers caught in mid-September 2023 were either actively spawning or had finished spawning.
According to Peter Westley, head of the project, the discovery of these fish supports the hypothesis that salmon are being pushed north as their traditional habitat changes. At the same time, Arctic waters are getting warm enough for these species.
Salmon are well known for ending their lives after spawning in the same river where they hatched, but outliers to that pattern exist. Sometimes they shift to new habitat as it becomes more hospitable, an associate professor at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences said.
It's still unknown whether attempts by salmon to reproduce in the region have been successful. Researchers have left temperature sensors in some of the chum salmon nests to determine whether the rivers completely freeze during the winter, destroying any developing embryos.
Source: University of Alaska Fairbanks