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THE SALMON RUN

Saeedul Alam
THE SALMON RUN
In Northwest America, salmon is a keystone species, which means the impact they have on other life is greater than expected in relation to their biomass.

The salmon run is the time when the school of salmon, which have migrated from the ocean, swim to the upper reaches of rivers where they spawn on gravel beds. Salmon spend their early life in rivers, and then swim out to sea where they live their adulthood and gain most of their body mass. Once they mature, they return to the rivers to spawn. After spawning, all Pacific salmon and most Atlantic salmon die, and the salmon life cycle starts over again.

As a keystone species, pacific salmon plays a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community. I made my way up about 16 km from downtown Victoria on southern Vancouver Island and explored the banks of meandering Goldstream river to capture this natural phenomenon. 

 

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Dead chum salmons by Goldstream river. Every autumn, million of Pacific salmon forge their way up the myriad streams of the Pacific northwest to spawn and die.

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Seagulls are congregating by Goldstream river in the morning. During salmon run, seagulls are in abundance feeding on the decaying salmon.

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A seagull surrounded by its food source, decaying salmons, rests on a rock while a salmon works it's way upstream against strong currents.

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Salmon carcass washed up on stone by strong current. After spawning, salmon dies of starvation and battling the rapids and other obstacles the river may present. 

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 Seagull feasting on a dead salmon

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Salmon eyes which are packed with rich nutrients, are seem to be first to be picked away by the seagulls.

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A macro photo of fungus growing on salmon carcass. Pacific salmon plays a dramatic episode in a complicated interplay between many creatures of forest, stream, air, and sea, and the forces of nature

November 06, 2015
About Author

Saeedul Alam is an outdoor enthusiast, and photographer, whose interest ranges from abstract to natural history. 

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