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Western Fisheries Science News, May 2016 | Issue 4.5

WFRC Welcomes Dr. Dave Beauchamp as New Ecology Section Chief

Dr. Dave Beauchamp in the Andes, while on a Fulbright Fellowship to Argentina to investigate the production potential and ecological impact of non-native trout on native fish and invertebrate communities in large Pategonia lakes. Lago Nahuel Huapi seen in background. Photo by USGS.

The WFRC is pleased to announce that Dr. David Beauchamp has been selected as the new Ecology Section Chief.  Last summer, the WFRC advertised for an Ecology Branch Chief to help set the overall science direction for the aquatic ecology program at the WFRC in Seattle, Washington.  This month, Dr. Beauchamp joins WFRC, bringing with him expertise, partnerships, and leadership that will benefit our program, scientists, and partners.

“Dr. Beauchamp is a well-known and well-regarded scientist in the region, we’re happy to have him on-board,” said Jill Rolland, Director of the WFRC.

Before taking this position, Beauchamp was the Acting Unit Leader of the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, USGS. He is also a professor in the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, teaching courses in bioenergetics modeling and aquatic food webs. He received a PhD from the University of Washington in 1987 and is active in professional service including participation in committees, workgroups, and professional society memberships.

Dr. Beauchamp’s research interests include aquatic food web ecology and modeling, predator-prey interactions, ecosystem modeling, climate change, bioenergetics, invasive/non-native species impacts, freshwater and anadromous salmonids, and visual foraging models. He sees a  number of research topics in aquatic ecology as inter-related and develops his research with this in mind. In his research program, Beauchamp hopes to promote a synergistic interplay of “basic” and “applied” science by designing projects that combine field measurements, lab and field experiments, as well as modeling and analysis. He recognizes that climate change and adaptation will be important to address as we optimize solutions across conflicting and increasing water- and land-use demands. Also, understanding thermal response of native and non-native species, environmental stressors, pathogens, growth and survival, and ecological implications will be important, especially for considerations of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act.

When asked what most attracted Dr. Beauchamp to working at WFRC, he said “Access to large and scalable experimental arenas to support behavioral ecology, foraging, and bioenergetics research in freshwater and marine settings was particularly attractive, as was the opportunity to work with the remarkable expertise of the staff at the Seattle lab and field stations. I’m really looking forward to plugging into and adding to the field, lab, and analytical capabilities of the group.”

As Dr. Beauchamp transitions into his new role at WFRC, we look forward to strengthening our aquatic ecology program and building more partnerships.  Some near-term projects he is pursuing include: 1) evaluating potential re-introductions of resident and anadromous salmonids above previously impassable dams or in response to dam removals using a food web perspective; 2) exploring how turbidity and artificial lighting affect predation on juvenile salmonids, and 3) factors affecting marine growth and survival of juvenile salmon. He’ll also be reaching out to scientists across the Center and partners in the region to better understand the scientific needs and questions that WFRC can help address.

Newsletter Author - Rachel Reagan



USGS Presents Course on Landscape Ecology and Modeling in Fish Health: On June 7, 2016, USGS scientists and collaborators will be presenting at the American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section’s Western Fish Disease workshop in Jackson Hole, WY. USGS scientists Gael Kurath, Maureen Purcell, Rachel Breyta, and Russell Perry from the WFRC will be speakers at the continuing education course titled “Landscape Ecology and Modeling in Fish Health” along with colleagues from University of Washington (UW) and University of Alabama. Course topics will include land-scape approaches to fish disease ecology and transmission, pathogen factors that drive disease ecology, genetics in disease resistance, and modeling of transmission, infection, and mortality of salmonids.

USGS Presents at Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting: On May 21-26, 2016, USGS WFRC scientist Tim Counihan attended and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science in Sacramento, CA. Counihan gave a presentation, titled “Quagga and zebra mussel monitoring in the Pacific Northwest, USA: How much effort is needed to detect rare planktonic taxa in the Columbia and Snake Rivers?” Recent studies suggest that the ecological and economic costs of an infestation of quagga and zebra (dreissenid) mussels in the Pacific Northwest would be significant. In a recent collaboration with Washington State University, scientists used information collected from 2012-2014 to characterize the spatial extent of dreissenid mussel veliger monitoring in the Pacific Northwest, in the context of introduction and establishment risk. In addition, scientists estimate the effort needed for high probability detection of dreissenid mussels and assess whether the effort currently expended is sufficient to provide for early detection of dreissenid mussels in the Columbia and Snakes rivers.

USGS Volunteers Present Research Findings at Undergraduate Symposium: On May 20, 2016, two undergraduate students currently doing research at the USGS WFRC presented their findings on the impact of endocrine disruption on fish health at the 19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at the UW (Seattle, WA). Emma Deas (Biology Senior) and Victoria McPhearson (Microbiology Senior) gave an oral presentation titled “The effect of early life EE2 exposure on innate immunity in zebrafish” in the “Evolution, from Aedes to Zebrafish” session. USGS WFRC Research microbiologist John Hansen serves as an affiliate Associate Professor in Global Health and Pathobiology at the UW. Both students are currently working in his lab.

USGS Scientists Participate in Interagency Fish Health Meeting:  On May 10, 2016, three scientists from the USGS WFRC participated in the Washington State Interagency Fish Health Meeting hosted by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in Olympia, WA. The meeting was attended by fish health staffs of agencies and entities involved in management or rearing of fish in Washington State, to discuss relevant fish health issues within the state. WFRC scientists Rachel Breyta, Diane Elliott and Maureen Purcell gave invited presentations on some important viral and bacterial pathogens of salmonid fishes.

In the News

On May 6, 2016, USGS scientist Lisa Gee, WFRC was featured in an article titled “Transmitters for Trout” in the Herald and News (Klamath Falls, OR). The article describes a pilot study of newly radio-tagged redband trout in Upper Klamath Lake to help guide watershed restoration. USGS is currently assisting in this project, with Oregon State University and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, using telemetry in the Upper Klamath Lake. Gee is providing her expertise implanting transmitters into study fish.


New Publication on the Ecology of Nonnative Siberian Prawn in the Lower Snake River, Washington: USGS scientists John Erhardt and Ken Tiffan of the Western Fisheries Research Center have a new article in Aquatic Ecology titled, "Ecology of nonnative Siberian prawn (Palaemon modestus) in the lower Snake River, Washington, USA." This paper describes distribution, population attributes, and reproduction of prawns, which are relatively recent invaders of the Snake River. Currently, the population is exhibiting exponential growth in the Snake River. Prawns are probably successful because many of the habitat and population attributes are similar to that of their native range. It is currently unknown whether they will become an important prey for fishes in these reservoirs as they expand into shallower habitats.

Erhardt, J.M. and K.F. Tiffan. 2016. Ecology of nonnative Siberian prawn (Palaemon modestus) in the lower Snake River, Washington, USA. Aquat. Ecol. 50(4): 607-621. DOI: 10.1007/s10452-016-9581-4.

New Publication Describes the Course of Clinical Disease in Parasitized Pacific Herring: Researchers from the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center's Marrowstone Marine Field Station recently coauthored a paper in the Journal of Fish Diseases describing the persistence of external disease signs in Ichthyophonus-infected herring. The majority of host mortality occurred prior to the onset of gross external signs, which persisted for more than a year. The authors concluded that the presence of external gross signs were not a reliable indicator of host mortality or future disease impacts to wild herring populations.

Hart, L.M., C.M. Conway, D.G. Elliott, and P.K. Hershberger. 2016. Persistence of external signs in Pacific herring Clupea pallasii Valenciennes with ichthyophoniasis. J. Fish. Dis. 39(4): 429-440.

New Publication Synthesizes the Epizootiological Principles Influencing Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in Populations of Wild Marine Fishes: Researchers from the USGS Marrowstone Marine Field Station and Western Fisheries Research Center recently coauthored a paper in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences describing the epizootiological risk factors that predispose wild fish populations to VHS epizootics. These relationships will be used as the basis for developing empirically-derived disease forecasting tools that inform population assessment models.

Hershberger, P.K., K.A. Garver, and J.R. Winton. 2016. Principles underlying the epizootiology of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in Pacific herring and other fishes throughout the North Pacific Ocean. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 73(5): 853-859.