Map to the Bone

What if a person was able to map every place he or she has been? When and where did this traveling occur? The chinook salmon is native to the river systems of western North America. It is said that a person could identify all of the bodies of water in which this creature has inhabited with the help of one little bone. By grinding up the otolith bone, traces of DNA in the distinct bodies of water could be found to help map the salmon’s journey. By researching historical data of the fish’s migratory patterns, it is expected to see similar trends. Unfortunately, human’s impact on the environment may disrupt the natural order of the species’ migratory maps.

The construction of dams plays a key role in storing water and controlling water flow. Although humans benefit from these structures, it alters the ecosystems in which other animals reside in. For example, when the chinook salmon are of age, they migrate up the river to their spawning areas, but because of these dams, the salmon are not able to traverse the river naturally and reach their destinations. To compensate for the salmons’ inability to hurdle over these dams, fish hatcheries are put in place to aid the salmon in their inherent journey.

The idea of cause and effect comes to mind when looking into this subject matter. For every action there is a reaction. For every new milestone achieved in development, there must be a strategy put in place to counteract its impacts. When the dams are constructed, fish hatcheries and ladders are also built to reduce the alterations done to the ecosystem. With mapping, it is clear to see the changes that are happening to the environment, but it is also a source to help fix the situation for the future.


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