Salmon Life Cycle

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The salmon life cycle begins and ends in clean and cool freshwater rivers and streams.  Eggs are incubated through winter and hatch in the spring, when they rely on the attached yolk sac until resources run out.  At that point, the young are now called Fry which move around to look for food, such as aquatic plants and animals.  Fry can stay in freshwater for months to years, but will eventually migrate through dangerous waters to reach the plentiful ocean.  When they have reached the estuary, where the river meets the ocean, a process called smolting begins.  Smolts must change their body functions to tolerate living in salt water.  After weeks or months, the smolt enter the ocean to reach adulthood in 2 to 4 years.  Once they are able to reproduce, salmon will utilize the ocean currents, stars, and magnetic forces to find their way back to their original estuary, and when they are closer they will use their sense of smell to find their exact hatching grounds.  The journey upstream is energy-costing to jump waterfalls, navigate around dams, and avoid predators.  But once they reach their destination, a spawning female will lay a few hundred eggs at a time in depressions she has made with her tail in the sediment.  She can often reach up to 3,000 eggs in a spawning period.  When the eggs are laid, a male salmon will deposit his sperm over the nest just before the nest is covered with gravel for protection.  At this point, the spawning salmon have expended their energy, and depending on the species will likely die, but there are some who will live to spawn again. 

Integrate the Arts:

Anadromous (A rap by Class of 2013):

Say it all together now, Andadromous.
Say it all together now, Andadromous.

It starts in the stream, and we find ourselves a spot.
Then the male comes around, because he thinks she’s hot.
She shakes her tail scale, and drops her eggs.
She’s got to swim along, because she ain’t got legs.

The male comes along, and finishes the date
The eggs are ready to in-cu-bate
They grow and get strong, till they’re ready to hatch
This is gonna be a really good batch

Aelvin’s the name
Gettin stronger is my game
Livin off my eggsac, don’t need no fodder
I only hang out in freshhhh-water

I grow into a Fry
And eat a lotta flies
Things done changed
I’m on my way to the ocean

Smolt live in the estuary
Raising their cholestro-ery
The salt is strange
But it’s a welcome change

I’m out in the waves of the open sea
I’m a big fish now, and I’m real hungree!
I spend the next years eating my fill
But it might take longer, to fill my gill

I got the urge now to head upstream
Meet a real nice salmon
make a bigger salmon team

I’m anadromous
that means I change
I’m anadromous
fresh to salty’s my game
I’m anadromous
back to my home range

Say it all together now, Andadromous.
Say it all together now, Andadromous.