Skip to Main Content
The Fish in the Forest

The Fish in the Forest: Salmon and the Web of Life

Photographs by Doc White
Text by Dale Stokes
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 172
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Fish in the Forest
    Book Description:

    The Fish in the Forestis an elegantly written, beautifully illustrated exploration of the complex web of relationships between the salmon of the Pacific Northwest and the surrounding ecosystem. Dale Stokes shows how nearly all aspects of this fragile ecosystem-from streambeds to treetops, from sea urchins to orcas to bears, from rain forests to kelp forests-are intimately linked with the biology of the Pacific salmon. Illustrated with 70 stunning color photographs by Doc White,The Fish in the Forestdemonstrates how the cycling of nutrients between the ocean and the land, mediated by the life and death of the salmon, is not only key to understanding the landscape of the north Pacific coast, but is also a powerful metaphor for all of life on earth.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95826-5
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[v])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vi]-[vii])
    (pp. 1-25)

    This story begins and ends with a fish. That is to say, it begins and ends with a salmon, a fish that so dominates its coastal marine and terrestrial environment that the entire landscape of the north Pacific coast of North America may be considered the Salmon Forest. This story begins and ends with a fish, but along the way the story of the Salmon Forest touches on all the life of the temperate rain forest: the trees and shrubs, the algae in the rivers and streams, the birds and bears and bugs, the bacteria in the soil, the whales,...

    (pp. 27-67)

    There are some remarkable traits common to all Pacific salmon regardless of taxonomic etymology and the numerous variations in each species’ coloration, size, or shape of mouth. They all live in the northern hemisphere and have adipose fins, small smoothedged scales, forward-stretching gill tissues, and peculiarities in vertebra shape, but the most important commonality that explains much of the essence of the Salmon Forest and separates them from their trout brethren is that the salmon in genusOncorhynchusaresemelparous. Taken from the Latin,semelparousmeans “begotten once,” a reference to their lyrical existence: they die soon after they reproduce....

    (pp. 69-79)

    Our ability to understand and quantify the exact role of salmon in the ocean and rivers of the world, beyond what generations of naturalists, scientists, and First Nation fishermen have observed with their eyes, has relied on the development of sophisticated instrumentation that does nothing less than tear apart and weigh the primordial constituents of an organism on an atomic level. This incredible device, the mass spectrometer, has been in development for over a century as a specialized tool for probing the physics and chemistry of matter, but only in recent decades has it been refined enough for routine application...

    (pp. 81-101)

    To a biologist, describing a salmon’s gestalt is actually a question of accurately defining the salmon’s niche. The termnicheimplies more to a scientist than the common notions of a niche as being something’s particularly suitable position in the idiomatic grand scheme of things. In scientific parlance, a salmon’s niche can have quantifiable characteristics, and it is an ecological construct of subtle meaning that was debated for decades. Informal thoughts of an organism’s niche had been considered for many years, but this important biological concept wasn’t unequivocally stated until about 1920, by the zoologist Joseph Grinnell. To Grinnell, a...

    (pp. 103-123)

    If there ever were an iconic image of the Pacific Northwest it would be the picture of a mature bear, deftly fishing salmon from a raging cataract in the heart of the forest. This is a vision of an enormous apex predator intimately linked with its aquatic prey, and in a broad sense, an easily conceptualized intersection of the marine and terrestrial realms. And as much as the salmon’s final spawning journey is an incredible feat of power and stamina, the ability of a bear to snatch a leaping fish from the air or to hunt fish darting through the...

    (pp. 125-146)

    To an ecologist, organisms capable of profoundly modifying their habitat are known as ecosystem engineers, and ecosystem engineers are often identified as keystone species. The beaver(Castor canadensis)is an archetypal example; beavers transform streams into ponds by clearing foliage, felling trees, and damming the water flow. This activity radically alters their ecosystem, creating an entirely new habitat that is optimized for the niche of a beaver but also supports a diverse community of organisms different from that of the original drainage. Salmon too are consummate ecosystem engineers, so much so that it can be argued that their habitat-transforming efforts...

    (pp. 147-148)
    (pp. 149-159)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 160-161)
  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 162-164)