Estuaries are valuable nursery and stopover habitats that support mobile consumers during their ontogenetic migrations such as juvenile anadromous salmon. My first data chapter was an extensive field study that examined how two salmon and two small pelagic fish integrate with key prey across the estuary of the Skeena River. The different fishes selected different prey that were unevenly distributed across the estuary seascape in time and space; however, some prey were associated with biophysical factors like salinity and eelgrass. My next chapter compiled empirical published data on five species of juvenile salmon growth rates and residency durations. Several species had poor coverage of these aspects, but it was evident that different salmon species and life history strategies have different growth rates and residency durations in estuaries. Collectively, this work adds and organizes empirical support for valuing estuaries as important habitat for juvenile salmon.
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Thesis advisor: Moore, Jonathan
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