The main aims of the SeaSalar research program are to examine factors impacting variation in marine survival of Atlantic salmon over time and in different geographical areas - and to establish a long-term inter-institutional collaboration for present and future projects. Strengthened collaborative use of data is essential.
Atlantic salmon is an important source of local income through fisheries, and a symbol of environmental quality and sustainability. Population sizes on both sides of the Atlantic have declined since the 1980s, both because of human impacts in rivers and coastal areas - and ecosystem effects in the ocean causing increased marine mortality. Although Atlantic salmon is a well-studied species, there is still lack of knowledge on the marine phase.
The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is the lead institution of the program, with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) as main partners.
Together with Norwegian and international partners, we have formed a consortium of experts aiming to build a knowledge platform and study how the marine survival of Atlantic salmon is affected by abiotic and biotic variables. This will be done by examining the physical and biological environment at sea that can potentially influence Atlantic salmon growth and survival, mapping the marine distribution and migration routes, analyse the variation in growth and survival over time and geographic areas, and combining data to identify factors affecting marine survival.
New studies and use of existing data
An important part of the project is to utilise existing data and activities - including salmon collected at sea, genetic material, archival scale samples, survival data, population size data, migration data, and data series on other marine species and oceanic ecosystems. The project will also apply new genetic, stable isotope and electronic tagging technologies and modelling to provide novel results.
The project started 1 August 2018 and will last for four years.
The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway.
The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Institute of Marine Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and other partners provide additional own funding.
The PhD position of Astrid Raunsgard is part of a strategic institute initiative at NINA, funded by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.
The Norwegian Environment Agency has provided extra funding to genetic analyses and fish tags.
The County Governor of Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder has provided extra funding to fish tags.