Field Wars: Rice of the Salmon

Featured Photo Credit:  Nathan Frandino/REUTERS

Author: Heather Bell

Chinook salmon rearing habitat is limited in California’s Central Valley due to the conversion of historical floodplains to urban and agricultural lands. This study is continuing the work of PhD student, Rachelle Tallman, to assess the feasibility of rearing juvenile Chinook salmon in rice fields to promote quick growth and increased survival. In mid-November of 2021, UC Davis graduate student, Alex Wampler, and post-doctoral scholar, Derrick Alcott, collected fall-run Chinook salmon eggs from Coleman National Fish Hatchery and brought them back to our lab to rear. Once the fish were large enough, some were pit tagged and released onto the field while others were placed into cages in the field. Currently, fish are being measured weekly for growth and monitored for survival. Eventually, the fish will be released from the field and will find their way to the rivers and begin their outmigration to the ocean.

PhD Student, Rachelle Tallman, surgically implanting an acoustic telemetry tag into a fish.