Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How Nutrient From The Sea Ended Up In The Forest?

Chum salmon swimming their way back to their breeding place. Photo by: Thomas Kline, Salmonography.


It’s hard to believe that trees deep in the forest get their nutrients far-far away from the sea. That what the wonder on nature when they work together accordingly. One of examples that we can see is the returning of salmon during the breeding season.

Salmon is one of few species of animals that start their life in the freshwater and spend their growing time in the sea then return back only to lay their eggs. As they return their journey back to the deep forest that might take few thousand kilometres as example of chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) that travel the longest journey far up to Yukon River and deep into the Amur River basin where the journey will take more than 3,200 km (2,000 mi).

Alaskan brown bear with chum salmon. Photo by: Alan Vernon

Salmon alevin. Photo by: OpenCage

Within their journey they will become meals for numbers of other animal species such as eagle, otter, water birds, and bear that waiting for their returning from the sea. Then for the surviving salmon will continue their journey to their breeding place far into the forest. Their journey up the river requires them to have strong muscles, with it they are capable to leaps more than 2 meters height.

Travelling far from the sea will make salmon lost lots of energy all of them will die after spawning their eggs. Their carcases might be taken by other animals out of the water and left the remaining alone. Then the remaining will become home to blow fly’s larvae that will eat on the remaining flesh.

Once they are ready, the maggots will buried themselves in the soil until they emerge as adult flies. These flies again will do another important thing for plants and trees in the surrounding areas; pollinating the flowers to make sure they can produce seeds for their next generation.

Dying salmon after the breeding season. Photo by: Ned Rozell

Death salmon releasing nutrients from the sea. Photo by: fishbio.com

We might think that salmon just one species of animal and maybe important to those few animals that eat them. With closer observation we can see how all the ecosystem intertwine together with every single piece of them nourishing one another.

Even though each female salmon can carry from 2,500 to 7,500 eggs depending on size and species, only some of them will hatched. From that numbers less than 2 percent will return to the same location to spawn again in the next 6 to 7 years.







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