Atlantic salmon Salmo salar are experiencing widespread population declines, and reductions in growth and survival in the marine environment are contributing factors. Our aims were to estimate marine food consumption of adult salmon and to determine how energetics would be directly affected by the increased ocean temperatures associated with climate change. We tagged previous spawners on outward migration (body size 76–119 cm) with archival tags and used a bioenergetic model to combine in situ temperature recordings with individual data on body growth. Average energy consumption was estimated to be 331–813 kJ per day, which is equivalent to 5–11 prey fish with an average body mass of ca. 15 g. Energy content of prey was the most important factor determining food consumption required to maintain growth. Conversely, the increases in ocean temperatures expected with climate change were predicted to have limited physiological effects on energy budgets and limited impact on the food consumption needed to maintain growth. We conclude that climatic warming will impact Atlantic salmon primarily through changes in prey availability and ecosystem structure rather than the direct effects of temperature on physiological performance.
April 27, 2023
PUBLICATION AVAILABLE AT: Marine food consumption by adult Atlantic salmon and energetic impacts of increased ocean temperatures caused by climate change | Hydrobiologia (springer.com)