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The experience and technological capabilities we have acquired enable our group to develop innovative solutions to long standing challenges at the interface of biology and technology.  Many of our staff are nationally and internationally recognized experts in their respective fields. Our success at providing science support to our diverse partners has generated many future possibilities.

Our Resources and Capabilities

We sample the physical environment using acoustic water velocity profilers, single- and multi-beam acoustic instruments for bottom- profiling recording thermographs. We also collaborate with partners to conduct large-scale light detection and ranging (LIDAR) surveys. Large biotelemetry studies use radio and acoustic telemetry to assist in understanding the behavior and survival of fish. Three analytical laboratories at the CRRL are dedicated to enzymology, immunology and cell culture, and general physiology. A wet laboratory facility at CRRL is used for investigating fish development and behavior. The wet laboratory contains specialized equipment, such as predator-avoidance chambers, a thermal- preference gradient, and swim-tubes for testing swim performance and bioenergetics. Our science team is comprised of quantitative biologists who apply novel statistical, spatial, and simulation modeling techniques to fisheries and environmental data.

Resources -- 45 federal employees working at the laboratory and field research sites year-round, with additional temporary federal employees on a seasonal basis.

Fleet -- CRRL maintains a fleet of over 20 research vessels up to 32 feet in length. These vessels support the collection of data in aquatic environments that require the use of different types of sampling gear including trawl, seine and lampara nets, PONAR grab samplers, electroshocking equipment etc.

Expertise -- Staff expertise includes fishery biology, large river ecology, environmental physiology, behavior of fish, and quantitative modeling. Pacific salmon are the subject of many of our studies, but other projects examine native species such as white sturgeon, bull trout, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, northern pikeminnow, and invasive species such as Zebra and Quagga mussels. Data are used to estimate, for example, movements of juvenile salmon in the Columbia River, responses of fish to temperature stress, abundances of juvenile white sturgeon, and rates of predation on salmon. Models are developed to analyze habitat use by fish, responses of salmon to varying flow in rivers, and bioenergetics of fish.

Modeling and Telemetry -- Movements and survival of juvenile salmon are examined by CRRL staff during their seaward migration using state-of-the-art models and telemetry. Evaluations of prototype fish passage devices at dams, such as surface bypass systems and removable spillway weirs, are made using sophisticated radio telemetry, hydroacoustic, and water velocity profiling technologies.

Research Products -- Range from technical assistance to significant scientific papers published in peer reviewed journals. Scientific and technical staffs participate as members of review committees, design work groups for dam passage, watershed councils, and endangered species recovery teams.

Scientist Emeritus -- Over the decades, as scientists have left CRRL to grow their careers, CRRL has developed an extensive network of alumnae amongst the ranks of our peers regionally and nationally.

Prior emeriti at CRRL are John Beeman, Mike Parsley, Tom Poe, and Dennis Rondorf.

Current emeritus, Patrick Connolly is serving on the Independent Science Review Panel (ISRP) for the Columbia River Basin.  Alec Maule and Tom Poe previously served on the Independent Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB).  The ISAB and ISRP are the preeminent science review groups in the Pacific Northwest and are co-sponsored by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, NOAA Fisheries, and the Columbia River Indian Tribes.

Corbicula sampling in the Bonneville Pool, Columbia River
Corbicula sampling in the Bonneville Pool, Columbia River. (Credit: Glen Holmberg, USGS, WFRC, Columbia River Research Laboratory. Public domain.)