Tidal and diel timing of river entry by adult Atlantic salmon returning to the Aberdeenshire Dee, Scotland

I.P. Smith, G.W. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The timing of salmon migration from the estuary of the Aberdeenshire Dee into the river in relation to tidal phase and time of day was studied by combined acoustic and radio-tracking of individual fish and by analysing records of untagged fish from a resistivity fish counter 0.8 km upstream from the tidal limit. Up-estuary movements that led to river entry were predominantly nocturnal and tended to occur during the ebb tide. Penetration into the non-tidal reaches of the river also tended to occur at night, but the timing of salmon movements was no longer significantly associated with tidal phase. The tracking data suggested that the reduction in the strength of the association between salmon migration and tidal phase resulted from variability in rates of progress from the estuary to the river. This variability may have been random, or related to changes in migratory behaviour during entry to fresh water. A simulation of upstream progress by groups of salmon illustrated the decay of the relationship between salmon movements and tidal phase and the advance of the average tidal phase of observed salmon movements with increasing distance of the observation point from where movements were initiated. The magnitude of these effects depended on the average rate of upstream progress and variability in the rate of progress, being greatest when upstream progress was slow and variable. These results highlight a limitation of point observations of migration with regard to identifying environmental stimuli for migration and quantifying their effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Tidal and diel timing of river entry by adult Atlantic salmon returning to the Aberdeenshire Dee, Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this