Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 881–900 | Cite as

Re-colonization of Atlantic and Pacific rivers by anadromous fishes: linkages between life history and the benefits of barrier removal

  • G. R. Pess
  • T. P. Quinn
  • S. R. Gephard
  • R. Saunders
Research Paper


The last two decades have seen a rapid increase in barrier removals on rivers of the Northern Hemisphere, often for the explicit purpose of expanding the abundance, spatial distribution, and life history diversity of migratory fishes. However, differences in life history such as seasonal timing of migration and reproduction, iteroparity versus semelparity, and the extent of natal homing are likely to affect the capacity for expansion and re-colonization by taxa such as alosines, lamprey, and salmonids. We first review some basic life history traits that may affect re-colonization by migratory fishes, and then present selected examples from Atlantic and Pacific basins to illustrate these patterns and their implications for the success of barrier removal as a measure to advance the goal of fish conservation. We conclude that diadromous fishes have the capacity to rapidly re-colonize newly available habitats, though the life history patterns of each species, the proximity to source populations in the same or nearby river systems, and the diversity of habitats available may control the patterns and rates of re-colonization.


Anadromous Life history Dam removal Conservation Homing Restoration 



The analysis and reporting conducted by Thomas Quinn were funded in part by a grant to him from the Washington Sea Grant, University of Washington, pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA10OAR4170075, Project R/LME-7. We thank J. Waldman, C. Busack, and one anonymous reviewer for their constructive reviews and P. Kusnierz for formative discussion on some of the ideas presented in the manuscript. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Pess
    • 1
  • T. P. Quinn
    • 2
  • S. R. Gephard
    • 3
  • R. Saunders
    • 4
  1. 1.Fish Ecology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) FisheriesSeattleUSA
  2. 2.School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Inland Fisheries DivisionConnecticut Department of Energy and Environmental ProtectionOld LymeUSA
  4. 4.Protected Resources Division, Northeast Region, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) FisheriesOronoUSA

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