Stable isotope analysis of marine feeding signatures of Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic

J. Brian Dempson, Victoria A. Braithwaite, Denis Doherty, Michael Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Differences in the marine feeding of three geographically distinct populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the North Atlantic (Conne River, Newfoundland; Koksoak River, Ungava Bay, Québec; River Erne, northwest Ireland) were examined using analyses of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen (δ13C and δ15N) and contrasted with isotope signatures obtained from a sample of salmon of unknown origin captured in the Labrador Sea. Although the overall range of δ13C and δ15N values (δ13C: from -22.42 to -19.37; δ15N: from 10.70 to 13.38) was similar to that reported by others, significant differences were found among populations and between different sea-age life-history groups. Reported differences in marine feeding between populations from the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic corroborated the stable isotope results. A surrogate measure of lipid content, the C:N ratio, was also compared among 1-sea-winter salmon. The highest levels were associated with the Koksoak River, suggesting that Subarctic populations may require higher energy reserves to contend with their longer migrations and more-severe environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Stable isotope analysis of marine feeding signatures of Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this