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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Martyn Lucas

Newton, M., Barry, J., Dodd, J.A., Lucas, M.C., Boylan, P. & Adams, C.E. (2016). Does size matter? A test of size-specific mortality in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts tagged with acoustic transmitters. Journal of Fish Biology 89(3): 1641-1650.

Author(s) from Durham


Mortality rates of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts implanted with acoustic transmitters were assessed to determine if mortality was size dependent. The routinely accepted, but widely debated, ‘2% transmitter mass: body mass’ rule in biotelemetry was tested by extending the transmitter burden up to 12·7% of body mass in small [mean fork length (LF) 138·3 mm, range 115–168 mm] downstream migrating S. salar smolts. Over the short timescale of emigration (range 11·9–44·5 days) through the lower river and estuary, mortality was not related to S. salar size, nor was a relationship found between mortality probability and transmitter mass: body mass or transmitter length: LF ratios. This study provides further evidence that smolt migration studies can deviate from the ‘2% rule’ of thumb, to more appropriate study-specific measures, which enables the use of fishes representative of the body size in natural populations without undue effects.