Evolutionary ecology
Field expedition

Catching salmon after the great flood

How do fishes in small rivers cope with major floods? Anne Gro Vea Salvanes was relieved to find out that at least the juvenile salmon she had transplanted had coped well.

A researcher standing on the river bed with her equipment
Anne Gro Vea Salvanes at her field laboratory at River Vosso.

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A few weeks ago, western Norway saw a period of unusually heavy rain. This caused severe flooding that caused devastation, including washing away several homes. In some rivers, the flood was consider as "once per 500 years" event. Anne Gro Vea Salvanes from EvoFish was afraid that the flood had washed away the 0-group salmon she and her collaborators had transplanted in River Vosso in July this year and the last year. Luckily, electrofishing last week (see the pictures) showed that the salmon were still there.

Now the excitement only increases: the fish are part of a study to learn about long-term consequences of rearing environment on survival of released fish. Earlier research has shown that salmon growing up in a visually enriched environment become smarter than their conspecifics grown under dull, standard rearing conditions lacking visual stimuli. However, little is known about how these differences in cognitive abilities translate into differences in growth and survival in natural environments. Now an exciting question is whether the "smart" salmon may also be better in finding refuge during high-flow conditions?

The project offers many opportunities for student projects (Bachelor or Master theses). Interested students are encouraged to contact Anne Gro Vea Salvanes.