Research database

Project information
Anadromy, behavior, Arctic charr, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, European whitefish
Project title
The coastal migratory behaviour of anadromous fish in relation to environmental parameters
Project leader
Guttorm Christensen
Geographical localization of the research project in decimal degrees (max 5 per project, ex. 70,662°N and 23,707°E)
69.758, 29.892


UiT‐Norges Arktiske Universitet (UiT): Prof. Audun H. Rikardsen / Jo Espen Tau Strand


Norsk Institutt for Vannforskning (NIVA): M.Sc. Kate Hawley


Norges miljø- og biovitenskapelige universitet (NMBU): Prof. Thrond O. Haugen


Fjord and Coast
Funding Source

Norterminal AS (main project)


Summary of Results


Anadromous fish are affected by changes in their surrounding environment in both fresh and marine waters, and may therefore be extra vulnerable to large‐scale environmental changes. Recent studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between water temperatures and salmonid migratory behavior, and these species may therefore be affected in a global climate warming scenario. The study have investigated the marine migratory behavior of Arctic charr, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and the rare anadromous European whitefish by use of acoustic telemetry during four years, and is relating the migratory behavior to environmental parameters and human developments.




  1. Understanding the environmental parameters controlling these species behavior at sea. The species exhibit varying degrees of anadromy and by relating their migratory behavior to environmental parameters, the project ultimately aims to predict how anadromous fish will respond to future increases in coastal water temperatures.

  2. Comparing the marine area habitat use among species, to investigate if they interact at sea.

  3. Investigate if and how established and planned human developments affects fish behavior.

The findings from the three papers that will be submitted by the end of 2017/in the beginning of 2018 includes methods for investigating how different species utilize different fjord areas in relation to planned human coastal developments, documentation of how different species migratory behavior is affected by environmental parameters, and novel knowledge on the behavior and physiology of a species that are normally non-anadromous (whitefish).


Master and PhD-students involved in the project


The project has produced two master students, Pierre Fagard (2015) studying the physiology and migratory behavior of European whitefish at UiT – The Arctic University, and Odin Kirkemoen (2016) working on Arctic charr´s and brown trout´s use of established and planned developed coastal areas at NMBU – Norwegian University of Lifesciences.


For the Management


Findings have been communicated to the management and stakeholders during previous study years, through reports, presentations and local media. Published results will be distributed when available.


Published Results/Planned Publications


Paper 1: Behavior and saltwater tolerance of European whitefish in an Arctic estuary and sea. Led by: Jo Espen Tau Strand at UIT (to be submitted in 2017).


Paper 2: Area use of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in an Arctic fjord system. Led by: Thrond Haugen at NMBT (to be submitted in 2017).


Paper 3: Environmental drivers of anadromous fish's coastal migratory behavior. Led by: Jenny Jensen at APN (to be submitted in the beginning of 2018, partial other funding).


Communicated Results

Se paragraph "For the Management "

Interdisciplinary Cooperation


Budget in accordance to results

The budget was reduced by 50 000 NOK from the application. The cooperating institutions have balanced this by putting in own effort into publishing of the results.

Could results from the project be subject for any commercial utilization

The Fjord and Coast project together with the main project have revealed many new interesting aspects of the behavior of our three most commonly occuring salmonid species, amongst other that Arctic charr, brown trout and Atlantic salmon will be affected differentli by changes in environmental parameters. It has also documented that the species European whitefish can exhibit anadromous behavior including physiological adaptations to salt water in Arctic environments.