California’s Salmon Run

salmon upstream
Salmon jumping upstream picture: Wikimedia Commons

Yee haw! It’s the time of the year when rain means it’s time to spawn. Us salmon were worried as California is in the midst of its driest year on record. But rainfall occurred in the nick of time.

You see, each year the adult salmon at sea (in this case the Pacific Ocean) return up the rivers to the place of their birth. There we spawn (that is lay eggs) on gravel beds, and then we die. The young salmon that hatch then grow up in those rivers before swimming out to the ocean to mature. There they grow up and gain weight. Those salmon then return to their place of birth and spawn, and the whole salmon life cycle is complete.

We are called andromous, which means “running upward,” i.e. our salmon run is upstream.

The really cool thing is that human scientists have figured out that we have a “magnetic map” in our head that helps us navigate. They think we “sense changes in the intensity and angle of the Earth’s magnetic field to establish our position in the ocean.”

Not only that, they think that we are born with this magnetic map and do not learn it during our childhood. I agree with that assumption.

Scientists also think that creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, and whales may navigate in the same way as us salmon.

Did you know that there are 5 species of salmon found off the Pacific coast? They are Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink and Sockeye salmon.

Parts of this post based on this article “Pacific Salmon Migrate with a ‘Magnetic Map’”

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