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Western Fisheries Science News, June 2017 | Issue 5.6

Dr. Diane Elliott Retires After Long Distinguished Career

Dr. Diane Elliott
Dr. Diane Elliott

On June 30th, Western Fisheries Research Center’s (WFRC), Fish Health Section, Histology and Bacteriology lead scientist Dr. Diane Elliott retired. Dr. Elliott’s research has been groundbreaking and widely recognized nationally and internationally, especially her pioneering work on the detection and control of the salmonid fish pathogen, Renibacterium salmoninarum, the causative agent of bacterial kidney disease (BKD).  For many decades, BKD seriously limited salmon hatchery programs throughout the Pacific NW until research by Dr. Elliott and other fish health colleagues led to the implementation of a successful BKD control program that is still followed today.

Dr. Elliott’s BKD research program also included development of improved sampling and testing methods for pathogen detection such as the development of nonlethal sampling methods, improved understanding of BKD biology and pathogenesis.  Her histopathology research has included pioneering studies of skin injury and healing in salmonids, and collaborative studies of infectious and noninfectious diseases in a variety of finfish species.

“The scientific contributions Dr. Elliott has made in the field of fish health have elevated the Center’s scientific reputation,” said Dr. Jill Rolland, Director of the WFRC, “and much of Dr. Elliott’s research has direct relevance to how hatcheries and aquaculture facilities manage disease.”

Dr. Elliott was recruited from the University of Washington in 1984, as a research scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fisheries Research Center (now the U.S. Geological Survey, WFRC).  During her career at the WFRC, she produced over 100 scientific publications including an impressive number of invited chapters in reference text books, histopathology CDs, proceedings and agency reports.   Dr. Elliott’s groundbreaking fisheries research includes publications on bacteriology, histopathology, virology, parasitology, and immunology.  Of special note are her papers on the detection and control of BKD as well publications on the development and validation of diagnostic assays, all of which have received global recognition.

Throughout her career, Dr. Elliott has made communicating science a priority. As an Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Dr. Elliott has provided lectures on fish pathology, bacteriology and histopathology and served as research advisor for many graduate students. In addition, Dr. Elliott has frequently been asked to provide technical training, continuing education or special workshops to many international organizations (e.g. European Association of Fish Pathologists) and research or diagnostic laboratories in other countries as well as to Federal, State, Tribal agencies and Universities in the U.S. Based on her broad expertise, Dr. Elliott has served as an expert on numerous technical committees, advisory groups, and granting agencies. Since 2006 Dr. Elliott has served on the editorial board of the Journal “Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.”

“It was a great privilege to have had Diane as a colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend for the past 17 years,” said Dr. Maureen Purcell, Chief of the Fish Health Section at the WFRC. “We are so thrilled that she will continue her fish health research as an emeritus scientist.”

Dr. Elliott has made an impressive contribution to the field of fish health.  In addition to her research for the USGS, Dr. Elliott has worked on behalf of the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society, and advisory groups for national and international organizations involved in fish health.  In 2015, in recognition for her years of outstanding research, Dr. Elliott was awarded the prestigious S.F. Snieszko Distinguished Service Award by the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society.  The Snieszko award is presented to individuals to honor their outstanding career accomplishments in the field of fish health.  Dr. Elliott was the third woman to receive this award and the fifth recipient from the WFRC.

USGS Scientist Emeritus

Dr. Elliott will be joining Drs. Jim Winton and Gary Wedemeyer as WFRC Scientist Emeriti in Seattle. The USGS Scientist Emeritus positions are reserved for scientists who have had long, distinguished careers with the USGS.  Welcome, Dr. Elliott!

Newsletter Author - Debra Becker



USGS Scientist Served as Instructor for Course on Fish Passage at High Head Dams: On June 18, 2017, six regional experts offered a short course entitled “Downstream Passage of Fish at High Head Dams” at the International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage in Corvallis, Oregon. USGS scientist Toby Kock served as one of the instructors for the full-day course and presented information about the success of surface collectors in the Pacific Northwest, along with a summary of lessons learned on downstream passage issues. The short course included multiple presentations by various instructors along with group exercises. 

USGS Scientist Provided Presentation at Yakima Basin Science and Management Conference: Scientists at the WFRC have been involved in research on the Yakima River to estimate migration survival of juvenile Chinook salmon and coho salmon since 2012. These studies have led to changes in flow management in specific river reaches and additional studies are planned for areas where this information is desired. Toby Kock and Russ Perry have led evaluations during 2012-2014 and 2016, and are currently planning research for 2018 and beyond. Toby presented a summary of migration survival findings at the 2017 Yakima Basin Science and Management Conference in Ellensburg.

In The News

On May 31st, 2017, USGS scientists Ian Jezorek and Jill Hardiman were featured in an article in The Enterprise (White Salmon, WA) about research assessing juvenile salmonids following a dam removal on the White Salmon River. The article describes field sampling at the White Salmon River juvenile fish trap and preliminary findings since trapping began last year. Condit Dam blocked anadromous fish passage on the White Salmon River for nearly 100 years when it was breached in 2011. The USGS is part of a workgroup including Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yakama Nation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group seeking to learn more about natural recolonization of the watershed.


New USGS Report on Natural Salmon Recolonization following Dam Removal:

A new USGS report on juvenile salmonid monitoring in the White Salmon River, Washington, following Condit Dam removal has just been released. Condit Dam was breached in 2011 and removed completely in 2012, allowing anadromous salmonids access to habitat that had been blocked for nearly 100 years. A multi-agency workgroup concluded that the preferred salmonid restoration alternative was natural recolonization with monitoring to assess efficacy, followed by a management evaluation 5 years after dam removal. Limited monitoring of salmon and steelhead spawning has occurred since 2011, but no monitoring of juveniles occurred until 2016. In 2016, USGS scientists, in cooperation with the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, used a rotary screw trap and backpack electrofishing to assess juvenile salmonid diversity, distribution, and abundance. The 2016 efforts provided the first post-dam smolt and juvenile abundance estimates for Coho Salmon and steelhead. As well as the first documentation of Coho Salmon juvenile production in tributaries upstream of the former Condit Dam site. This monitoring effort will help to better understand abundance trends, distribution, and life history patterns of recolonizing salmonids in the White Salmon River and assess efficacy of natural recolonization to inform management decisions.

Jezorek, I.G., and J.M. Hardiman. 2017. Juvenile salmonid monitoring in the White Salmon River, Washington, post-Condit Dam removal, 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1070, 34 p.

New Report on Endangered Suckers in the Upper Klamath Lake, OR:

A new report and data set have been released that summarizes inter-annual variability in apparent relative production, survival and growth of endangered juvenile Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Sucker survival during the juvenile life stage is the primary factor limiting recovery of these species in Upper Klamath Lake. A report compiling data on juvenile suckers collected from 2001 to 2015 aims to identify correlations between annual variation in environmental conditions and juvenile sucker survival. The authors found that relatively high in-stream flows during the spawning season in the primary spawning tributary are correlated with high production of suckers. First year sucker growth varied among years but is unsynchronized between species, indicating the two species responded differently to similar environmental variables.

Burdick, S.M., and B.A. Martin. 2017. Inter-annual variability in apparent relative production, survival, and growth of juvenile Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2001-15: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1069.

Burdick, S., D.-C. Amari, and B. Martin. 2017. Data for trap net captured juvenile Lost River and shortnose suckers from Upper Klamath Lake, 2001 to present: U.S. Geological Survey data release.

New USGS report on spatial and temporal distribution of bull trout in the North Fork Reservoir, OR: 

In a new USGS report acoustic cameras were used to assess the behavior and abundance of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus)-size fish at the entrance to the North Fork Reservoir juvenile fish floating surface collector (FSC). The purpose of the FSC is to collect downriver migrating juvenile salmonids at the North Fork Dam, and safely route them around the hydroelectric projects. The objective of the acoustic camera component of this study was to assess the behaviors of bull trout-size fish observed near the FSC, and to determine if the presence of bull trout-size fish influenced the collection or abundance of juvenile salmonids.

Adams, N.S., and C.D. Smith. 2017. Spatial and temporal distribution of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus)-size fish near the floating surface collector in the North Fork Reservoir, Oregon, 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1080, 27 p.

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