Salmon and steelhead have complex life cycles that begin with adults spawning in natal
streams, rivers or lakes. The age and seasonal timing of salmon life cycle transitions
are determined by their genetic make-up and influenced by conditions in nature or the
Juveniles stay in fresh water from a few months to several years and then undergo smoltification, which allows them to live in the ocean.
- Smolts migrate to sea, and grow there until they become adults and initiate reproductive maturation.
- Adults migrate from the ocean back to their natal freshwater habitat where they will spawn.
- The rate at which salmon grow affects how fast they complete their life cycle.
- Salmon develop an odor memory for their natal habitat.
Research in the Environmental Physiology Program aims to:
Effects of thermal regimes
Forecasting life history trajectories
Improving smolt quality
Reducing hatchery production of minijacks
Straying in barged steelhead