Modelling the trajectories of migrating Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Douglas J. Booker, Neil C. Wells, I. Philip Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a model for simulating the trajectories of migrating Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the ocean. Surface current and temperature representations were used as boundary conditions for simulation of migration trajectories. Representations of surface currents were derived from a general circulation model forced by realistic winds and then tested through comparisons with observed trajectories of drifting buoys. Observed climatology data were used to represent sea surface temperature patterns. The model was used to simulate the trajectories of 15 individual salmon that were tagged in their home rivers and subsequently recaptured at sea. In contrast to a random swimming direction model, trajectories simulated using both rheotaxis and thermotaxis as direction-finding mechanisms passed close to the recapture locations of the salmon. The timings and positions of the trajectories simulated using rheotaxis corresponded more closely with the observed data than those simulated using thermotaxis. This work indicates that either rheotaxis or thermotaxis, or a combination of the two, are possible direction-finding mechanisms for migrating Atlantic salmon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-361
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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