Western Fisheries Research Center

Drivers of Ecosystem Change

Ecosystems and the benefits they provide are changing in response to natural- and human-induced physical, environmental, and biological conditions. Understanding how our ecosystems are changing will be critical for making decisions and finding strategies that can support our aquatic resources. Identifying and understanding human- and naturally- induced stresses to ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales is needed. In the Western U.S., dam construction, channelization of waterways, invasive species, agriculture, mining, and urbanization have resulted in changes to habitat and water quality. Scientists at WFRC work with a variety of partners to investigate changes in ecosystems, evaluate alternatives, and provide science to support management decisions.

Filter Total Items: 13
Date published: December 13, 2018
Status: Active

WFRC Ecology Section - Projects Overview

The Ecology Section examines how environmental variability, human activities and infrastructure influence food web interactions and species performance in freshwater and marine ecosystems. We have extensive experience in quantifying aquatic food web processes as they relate to growth, survival and production of key species of interest, especially resident and anadromous salmonids.

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of Nanophyetus salmincola on the Health and Survival of Puget Sound Steelhead

Low early marine survival rates of Puget Sound steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), the state fish of Washington, have contributed to its dramatic population decline and current listing as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. Determining the cause(s) of this elevated mortality remains a primary objective of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a large US / Canada effort...

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: September 27, 2018
Status: Completed

Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin

The ecological and economic costs of an invasive quagga or zebra mussel infestation in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. would be significant. The development of invasive mussel monitoring programs in the Pacific Northwest provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a regional invasive species detection effort early in its development. Although efforts are underway to monitor for the presence of...

Contacts: Timothy Counihan, Stephen M. Bollens
Date published: September 12, 2018
Status: Active

Salmonid Population and Life History Research in Tributary Stream and River Habitats and Response to Dam Removal

Juvenile anadromous salmonids all spend some portion of their lives in freshwater. This time may vary from days to years depending upon species and run. Spring Chinook Salmon and Coho salmon generally spend one year in freshwater and Steelhead may spend up to five years in freshwater prior to beginning their journey to sea. Several projects at WFRC – CRRL are investigating populations, life-...

Contacts: Ian Jezorek
Date published: August 30, 2018
Status: Active

Columbia River Basin Sturgeon Habitat Modeling

A study was conducted to identify habitat characteristics associated with age 0 White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1863) recruitment in three reaches of the Columbia River Basin: Skamania reach (consistent recruitment), John Day reach (intermittent/inconsistent recruitment), and Kootenai reach (no recruitment).

Contacts: James Hatten
Date published: August 28, 2018
Status: Active

Species Studied by the Western Fisheries Research Center

Many species are studied at the Western Fisheries Research Center.  These species include bacteria, birds, fish, invertebrates, parasites, plants, and viruses. The list contains both common and scientific names, and where each are being studied on the WFRC landscape.

Date published: August 24, 2018
Status: Active

Contaminants in Puget Sound Forage Fishes and Impacts to the Marine Food Web

Toxic chemical pollutants have been released into Puget Sound for decades by human activities. There’s a wide range of contaminants, from persistent compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and flame retardants to contaminants of emerging concern. Aquatic species can be exposed to and accumulate contaminants, causing disease or disruption of biological processes like growth or...

Date published: June 12, 2018
Status: Active

Columbia River Research Laboratory (CRRL)

The Columbia River Research Laboratory (CRRL), the Center's largest field station, carries out research throughout the U.S. portion of the Columbia River's drainage basin in 5 western states.

Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

WFRC Strategic Plan for Science 2015-2020

This strategic plan establishes a template for our science portfolio for the next five years.

Date published: February 23, 2018
Status: Active

Western Fisheries Research Center Lead Scientists and Areas of Expertise

Scientist - Areas of Expertise