Returning to their Roots

When growing up, we have always been taught to appreciate own roots. Well, the Salmo salar, or better known as the Atlantic Salmon, brings that saying to an all new level.

Born in freshwater rivers, the Salmo salar only stays in its breeding ground for the period of its initial growth. Subsequently, they leave the breeding grounds and travel downstream, following the river all the way back into the ocean, where they spend most of their adult life in. However, this is where it gets interesting. After around 3 to 4 years of roaming the ocean, the Salmo salar then starts to migrate BACK to the river it originally came from, swimming upstream to reach its ORIGINAL breeding ground. They breed, giving way to the next generation, and then die out, starting the cycle once again.

If this doesn’t wow you yet, take into the consideration the fact that the Salmo salar travels upstream no matter what obstacles are in the way. This includes waterfalls, obstructions or circumvents in the river that appeared in the four years they were missing, and of course, hordes of hungry bears and wolves standing by the river, waiting for a free meal. Despite all that, the Salmo salar still manage to find their way to the EXACT same breeding ground. Not impressed yet? Then what if you knew that this migration is not just an event that is done by the Salmo salar as individuals. Instead, it is a MASS migration of thousands of fish, all hatched from the same brood and all travelling up the stream to reach their breeding ground together. Talk about an epic class reunion! If only we humans could learn a thing or two from the Salmo salar, maybe life would be alot more interesting, right?


S. D. McCormick, 1998. Movement, migration, and smolting of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Volume 55, Pages 77-92

J. E. Thorpe & R. I. G. Morgan, 1978. Periodicity in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. smolt migration. Journal of Fish Biology, Volume 12, Issue 6, pages 541–548