Fluctuating asymmetry of adult Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) otoliths from wild and hatchery origins

  • Alex L. Koeberle
  • Ivan ArismendiEmail author
  • Whitney Crittenden
  • David Leer
  • David L. G. Noakes


Fluctuating asymmetry is the non-directional deviations from bilateral symmetry and occurs across organisms. Fish otoliths are often used to test for differences in symmetry as otoliths aid in hearing, homing, and balance. Here, we evaluated the symmetry of otolith pairs in adult Chinook Salmon between wild and hatchery-origin stocks. Pacific salmon are economically and ecologically important to the Pacific Northwest, USA. Chinook Salmon are widely distributed throughout the North Pacific Ocean, yet several wild populations are federally listed as endangered or threatened due to depleted stocks, loss of genetic diversity, and hatchery contribution to wild stocks. As such, fishery managers are concerned with the health and condition of hatchery-origin fish and their impacts on wild populations. We included both hatchery and wild-origin Chinook Salmon from the Coast Mountain and Willamette regions in Oregon as well as hatchery populations from southeast Alaska. We evaluated several metrics to test shape variation and symmetry between the left and right sagittal otoliths. We found consistently more asymmetry in otoliths from hatchery origin than wild Chinook Salmon within seven out of eight total metrics. These results could have conservation and management implications as hatchery-origin Chinook Salmon can reduce pressure from wild stocks while continuing to support commercial and recreational industries.


Chinook Salmon Otolith shape Symmetry Wild Hatchery 



The authors would like to thank members of the Freshwater Ecology and Conservation Lab for their feedback and laboratory assistance. We thank Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for their help with hatchery samples including C. Sharpe, S. Richardson, K. Kremers, B. Boyd, D. Peck, and R. Couture. At Oregon State University, P. Konstantinidis B. Gerth, and C. Herron-Seeley provided further laboratory support and B. Jarvis for wild-caught Chinook Salmon. We also thank C. Di Prinzio for help in collecting samples at Willamette Basin hatcheries and a small network of local anglers for wild-caught Chinook Salmon in the Coast Range, Oregon. Undergraduate laboratory assistants M. Fisher, S. Fox, and A. Ehrke provided their time and help with imaging otolith samples. Lastly, we thank J. Miller and K. Puettmann for their feedback on this manuscript. Two anonymous reviewers provided useful comments that improved our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture AssociationKetchikanUSA
  3. 3.Oregon Hatchery Research CenterAlseaUSA

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