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Paul Hershberger, Ph.D.

Paul Hershberger is the Chief of the Fish Heath Section at the U. S. Geological Survey - Western Fisheries Research Center (Seattle, WA) and the Station Leader at the Marrowstone Marine Field Station (Nordland, WA).  He is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington – School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and former President of the Fish Health Section - American Fisheries Society.

Paul has the pleasure of leading a team of fish health professionals who are experts in their respective fields of fish virology, immunology, toxicology, histopathology, parasitology, and disease ecology.  Specific components of the Fish Health Section focus on:

  • the development of immune-related tools for fishes and the impact(s) of environmental stressors (e.g. contaminants, pathogens, temperature) on the fish immune response.
  • the use of gene knock outs in zebrafish and other model species to assess pathogen virulence and host immune response mechanisms.
  • the evolution of virulence and other phenotypes in fish viruses using landscape-scale genotyping to identify patterns of virus occurrence, transmission, and disease impacts across borad temporal and geographic scales. 
  • the discovery and identification of new and emerging fish viruses in the Pacific Northwest and throughout North America.
  • the integration of novel quantitative techniques to understand stochasticity of pathogen transmission and other mechanisms of basic and applied disease ecology.
  • the use of histopathology and electron microscopy to assess pathogen / disease monitoring and research needs in populations of wild and hatchery-raised fishes.
  • the effects of environmental contaminants, including PAH’s, PCB’s, and emerging contaminants like PFAS and 6-PPD quinone on fish health, survival, and immunological pathways.
  • the range expansion of invasive amphibians and their susceptibility to native and exotic pathogens.

In addition, Paul’s personal research employs a combination of laboratory and field approaches to understand, forecast, and mitigate the impacts of infectious and parasitic diseases on populations of wild marine and anadromous fishes.