Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project

Frequent Salmon Terminology

  • Imprinting – memorizing how to get back to home waters
  • Camouflage – changing body colors to hide from predators
  • Eyes – lidless, bird-like, views to each side, unlike forward bicameral mammal vision
  • Gills – like lungs that extract oxygen from air, gills extract oxygen from water
  • Fins – used to maneuver
  • Muscles – used to give power to fins
  • Home waters – the place to return to spawn, also known as natal or native waters
  • Freshwater – birth and later, spawning waters (creeks, rivers, lakes)
  • Saltwater – rapid and significant feeding and growth waters (estuaries, Puget Sound, ocean)
  • Estuary – rapid growth area with mix of fresh and saltwater; tidal exchange
  • Venema Creek – imprinting tributary of Pipers Creek; major tributary of Pipers Creek
  • Pipers Creek – main channel where most fish spawn; Pipers Creek Watershed
  • Puget Sound – estuary where salmon species smolt before migrating to the Pacific Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean – adult feeding zone following food and temperature currents
  • Watershed – all the water that flows to a common low location
  • Eggs – newly fertilized with milt (male sperm)
  • Eyed eggs – development within the egg showing dark eye structure
  • Alevin – hatched egg with emerged fish body and attached egg/yolk sac
  • Fry – early free swimming fish without scales
  • Smolt – advanced juvenile usually migrated to estuary
  • Feeding Adults – ocean going fish, silvery, follows food migration routes
  • Spawning Adults – fish returning to home waters undergo extreme physical and physiological changes
  • Male – provides milt (sperm) to nested eggs; intensely competes with other males; extreme spawning transformations (colorations, hunched backs, canine-like teeth, hooked jaws (kype)
  • Female – build nests (redd) by turning sideways using tail; multiple nests, multiple mates, typically remains at redd site, guarding/tending/waiting for next mate
  • Mating – pairing of male and female for the purpose of spawning which results in viable fertilized eggs
  • NestRedd – females lay about 3000 eggs in multiple nests with multiple mates
  • Death – in the Pipers system, fish die within about 10 days of returning to their freshwater home waters; females must find both a suitable gravelly zone and a mate
  • Renewal – decomposing fish feed scavenging animals, bacteria, fungi, small plants, trees
  • Chum salmon – common name from the word tzum, a Chinook language term that means “spotted” or “marked”
  • Dog salmon – common name from the reference to spawners that develop extreme canine-like teeth
  • Oncorhynchus keta – scientific name for Chum Salmon
  • Anadromous fishes that hatch and spend a juvenile period in freshwater. This is followed by migration to and maturation in the ocean. Adult fish then migrate back up rivers—”anadromous” means “upward-running”—in order to reproduce in freshwater habitats. The length of the initial freshwater period and of the oceanic period vary greatly by species. Similarly, the length of the migration can vary tremendously. Some species travel hundreds of kilometers between their marine habitat and their breeding grounds, while others migrate only a short distance upstream from brackish water to reach freshwater spawning grounds.

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