Last week, Genoveva Esteban and Katie Thompson from SAMARCH hosted two workshops for school children, showcasing SAMARCH research. This was their first workshop as part of Bournemouth University and the Jane Goodall Institute Roots and Shoots programme. Their virtual workshop incorporated a talk on facts about Atlantic salmon, recent research, and interactive elements for the children to get involved in. Their presentation also doubled up as an activity workbook for children to work on from home.
For any questions about the event, or if you are interested in this activity for your school, please contact Katie via email: email@example.com
Here are the answers for the our ‘World Ocean Day 2020’ colouring sheet:
The figure has been adapted from:
Kryvi, H., Rusten, I., Fjelldal, P.G., Nordvik, K., Totland, G.K., Karlsen, T., Wiig, H. and Long Jr, J.H., 2017. The notochord in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) undergoes profound morphological and mechanical changes during development. Journal of anatomy, 231(5), pp.639-654.
Happy #WorldOceanDay, a day to celebrate our wonderful oceans and all the biodiversity that calls the ocean their home. Our oceans are so diverse, but we would like to focus on a fascinating species today:The Atlantic Salmon! Have a go at our poster, where you can learn the life cycle of the salmon and colour them in! Please share any completed activity sheets with us (drop us a message!) We love to hear from you 🙂
SAMARCH is a five-year project with a grant of €5.8m from the EU’s France Channel England Interreg Channel programme.
The SAMARCH project will provide new transferable scientific evidence to inform the management of salmon and sea trout (salmonids) in the estuaries and coastal waters of both the French and English sides of the Channel. It will provide new information to further improve the models used in England and France to manage their salmonid stocks. Although the project involves working on a number of rivers in the Channel area, the majority of the data collection and research will focus on the five salmon and sea trout “Index” rivers in the Channel area. These are the rivers Frome and Tamar in the south of England and the Scorff, Oir and Bresle in northern France. SAMARCH is a five-year project with a grant of €5.8m from the EU’s France Channel England Interreg Channel programme. It involves 10 partners from France and England who are a blend of research and regulatory organisations, and key stakeholders:-
Lead Partner: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK)
University of Exeter (UK)
Bournemouth University (UK)
Environment Agency (UK)
Salmon and Trout Conservation (UK)
Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (France)
Agrocampus Ouest (France)
Agence Française pour la Biodiversité (France)
Normandie Grands Migrateurs (France)
Bretagne Grands Migrateurs (France)
There are four technical work-packages (WP T), a summary of their aims are:-
Technical WP T 1, uses acoustic tracking technology to follow sea trout and salmon smolts through the estuaries of the rivers Frome, Tamar, Scorff and Bresle in the spring of 2018 and 2019 to apportion the mortality rate of smolts between the estuary and the sea. Using both acoustic and data storage tags in sea trout kelts in the Frome, Tamar and Bresle in the winters of 2017 and 2018, to track their movements through the estuary and around the coast.
Technical WP T 2, collects samples of juvenile brown trout from rivers in northern France and the south of England and adult sea trout across the Channel to build a common genetic data base of trout and sea trout to facilitate the identity of the river of origin of sea trout caught at sea. Genetic analysis to identify the sex of large numbers of juvenile and adult salmon and sea trout will feed into models used in the UK and France to manage salmonid stocks. To develop a transferable map based on sea scape in the Channel area to predict which coastal areas are important for sea trout.
Technical WP T 3, involves collecting data on the marine survival of salmonids and modelling this and historic data from the five Index rivers to develop a predictive model for the abundance of returning salmonids. Analysing large numbers of historical adult salmonid scales for changes in growth rates and sex ratio over time and assessing the fecundity of salmonids; these will all feed into the models used to manage salmonid stocks in England and France.
Technical WP T 4, will be used to ensure the results produced by the project inform, improve and develop new policies for the management of salmonids in estuaries and coastal waters. It will engage with stakeholders in both England and France and further afield to maximise the impact of the results generated by the project
On Friday the 25th of January, three students from Arocampus Quest University in Rennes, Brittany came to the GWCT’s Salmon and Trout Research Centre at East Stoke, Dorset to present two videos (you can watch them below) and posters they had made to aid the recovery of tags from our tagged adult sea trout for the SAMARCH project. They filmed two videos, one for beach walkers who may find a tag on the beach and one for anglers who may catch one of our tagged sea trout. Its imperative that we get as many tags back from our sea trout because of the invaluable data they hold.
Last year when we trialled the process where we tagged 16 sea trout and recovered one tag from a beach in Cornwall and three tags from the fish trap on the river Bresle.
A huge thank you to Manon Fredout, Barbara Raguenet and Charlotte Buland for their hard work over the last few weeks in putting the two videos together.
Also thank you to two students from Bournemouth University, Ossi Turunen and Oskari Heimonen for their support with fieldwork on SAMARCH and helping to promote the project.
In April 2018 I completed a placement on the River Frome, Wareham, Dorset, as a research assistant from Bournemouth university in collaboration with the GWCT for SAMARCH. From late March to mid-May, the team aim to recapture a percentage sample of the previous years tagged fish. An acoustic bubble is positioned on the main river to divert fish down through the RST on the Mill Stream.
The shifts were run by a supervising fisheries scientist and one research assistant (i.e. myself). Day shifts began at 08:00 and night shifts at 20:00. At the start of the shifts, we entered the fluvarium to check water flow and ensure the trap was running correctly. The RST was then lowered into the river and environmental data and timings entered in the recording sheet. We set up the laptop to record any tagged fish caught, and a tub of anaesthetic solution to temporarily and humanely sedate the fish for efficient processing.
The RST was checked every 30 minutes for salmon (WSSM) and trout (TSM) which would then be netted out into a tub of freshwater. Any other species found were noted and released downstream. The salmon and trout were then put into the anaesthetic solution and the fisheries scientist would check them individually for a tag. Any tagged fish had their details entered onto the computer and scale samples taken; different sides for smolt and parr. Any that weren’t tagged, had their measurements logged, and scale samples were taken from one of each size. Multiple fish caught of the same size were recorded but had no scales samples taken. The scales are sent off to Exeter University and used to determine the sex of the fish and the growth and lifecycles at sea. The fish were placed back into the freshwater tub to readjust to conditions and then released safely downstream.
Going into this placement, I had no experience of working with fisheries and was eager to learn more about research processes and sampling techniques. I expected the night shifts to be busier than they were, with capture rates barely reaching 20, however this was likely due to the temperature not reaching 12°C. As the placement had many quiet periods, opportunities arose to learn more from the fisheries scientist of the biology and physiology of salmon and trout, and the small morphological differences to assess when identifying the species.
Catching the occasional minnow and roach prompted discussions of the ecology of the river, with eels, perch and dace also caught throughout the run. I learnt more about the lifecycles of salmon and trout, their migration patterns, and their evolutionary responses to risk and challenges. For example, how the majority of smolt migration occurs during the night, likely due to adaptation or behavioural decision making to decrease predation risk and/or increase feeding due to a higher abundance of food, and so day shifts are likely to be much quieter.
Whilst working with supervising scientist, Bill Beaumont, I gained further knowledge of tagging techniques used to track fish. For example, the functional differences between acoustic and radio tagging, how they collect the data, and the environmental conditions that affect them. Whilst visiting the lab between processing times, I was shown how to read the information contained in the fish scales; analysing scales is similar to observing tree rings with aging and growth, condensed lines indicate winter growth, spread/spacious lines indicate summer growth and erosion on these lines indicate spawning. These quiet periods between trap checks also gave opportunity to engage with other scientists in the field to learn more about their careers. This provided me with important directional knowledge and contacts for experience in fisheries ecology and management.
I attended the Global Engagement Fusion Seminar at Bournemouth University on 24th January to present and share my own experiences with the SAMARCH project. The seminar was hosted by BU academics Professor Genoveva Esteban and Dr Dan Franklin whom both presented their on-going and forthcoming work with the Interreg Channel Programme.
I had prepared, in collaboration with another BU student, Oskari Heimonen, a short presentation to highlight the great placement opportunities SAMARCH has to offer. Other presentations were given by other BU academics and our French peers from Agro Campus Ouest.
This Global Engagement Fusion Seminar was first of its kind and from my perspective, especially after discussing with all the other presenters and also with the audience, the seminar was a great success. In the future the upcoming SAMARCH Newsletter will keep you updated on events like this!
SAMARCH is beginning to unravel the mysteries of sea trout at sea. We have started to analyse the data from the four DST’s recovered this summer and have looked at the depth data recorded, below is a graph of a Tamar sea trout showing its maximum and minimum swimming depths over a 10 day period. The sea trout was caught and tagged in the Tamar in mid-December 2017, it then went to sea in mid-January and in mid-May the fish died and the tag floated to the surface and was washed up on Pentewan Beach, near St Austell Cornwall. The tag was found by a beach walker who posted the tag to us in return for a £50 reward.
The preliminary data reveals that the fish spent much of the night time near the surface, but during the day undertook multiple dives to depths of up to 50m and that it spent at least 80% of daylight hours at depth greater than 10m. This new data questions the effectiveness of current rules to protect sea trout at sea which is that no net should be set within three or five meters of the surface.
A further 300 sea trout will be tagged between December 2018 and January 2019, that will bring more data to improve the sea trout management in coastal waters.
I have recently arrived from Canada and started a PhD position with Bournemouth University and the Salmon and Trout Research Centre at GWCT as part of the SAMARCH project. Before moving to England, I lived in Iceland, where I completed my Master’s degree studying trophic interactions between rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), sea trout (Salmo trutta), and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus).
For my PhD thesis I will test the hypothesis that current declines in anadromous salmonid populations are a function of changes in their migration phenology. More specifically, I will be studying Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the River Frome, and am interested in what intrinsic factors (such as the length and weight of juvenile salmon) and extrinsic factors (such as water temperature) affect the likelihood of salmon surviving to adulthood and migrating back to their natal rivers, where they lay their eggs. Atlantic salmon have a complicated life cycle, and there is still a lot to learn about their long migrations. I hope that the findings from my research will help inform management and conservation efforts for salmon in this region.