Sockeye Salmon

Ever thought whether a volcanic eruption can help its environment? Well back in 2008 a volcano by the name of  Kasatochi which is located off of the Gulf of Alaska, erupted and left ash everywhere. Surprisingly the ash from the eruption ended up fertilizing the ocean therefore producing a massive bloom of phytoplankton called diatoms.  Diatoms are one of the major groups of algae and are normally unicellular. So its no surprise that diatoms are producers within the food chain.

With the help of the ash from the eruption, 34 million sockeye salmon returned to B.C.’s Fraser River. The “adolescent” salmon that returned was the largest that river had seen since 1913. To give an idea as to how great of a difference the number was, the year before a rough total of returning salmon was around 1.5  million. The ash gave the salmon something to eat in great amounts, and because of that they were able to gain lots of energy and build strong bodies.

Researchers were amazed at the outcome and figured that because of the eruption and previous studies, fishermen will be able to predict when the river will have larger populations of sockeye salmon. Now the year after the eruption the population of the sockeye salmon was not as large as the year before, due to the fact that most of the salmon were older and were about to leave the river. With that  the salmon really didnt have a need to eat as much as they would if they were as young as they were when the volcano has erupted. The fish werent growing anymore, they were in adulthood. Although most volcanic eruptions are violent and posibly deadly no one really thinks about what impact it can have on its surrounding environment.

In this case its outcome was great not only for the ocean but for researchers and fishermen. Being able to predict how large the population of fish coming in will be easier because they will be able to monitor the growth of the diatoms and get an estimate. The ash fertilize the ocean and helped with the growth of diatoms ( phytoplankton). Its like a huge circle that has an unexpected beginning but ends up having a huge impact on life. I learned something new about volcano’s and how not everything is  bad that comes out of them. In some cases ( like this one) there are  good outcomes but my only question would be can you help improve the growth of food for the salmon.

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