Monster Seminar JAM, feat. Dr. Erika Eliason

If you would like to meet with Dr. Erika Eliason, please contact Peter Kiffney at

The next installment of the 2013 Winter Quarter NWFSC Weekly Monster Seminar JAM series will feature Dr. Erika Eliason, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney and Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia. Dr. Eliason’s presentation entitled “Local Adaptation and Thermal Tolerance in Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Populations”, will take place on Thursday, January 17th at 11:00 AM in the Northwest Fisheries Science Center Auditorium: 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle.

Please visit the Monster Seminar JAM web page for additional information about the Series, as well as upcoming installments. The NWFSC Monster Seminar JAM is part of the OneNOAA Science Discussion Seminar Series and is open to all who wish to attend. Please forward this announcement to anyone who might be interested in attending this seminar.

Local Adaptation and Thermal Tolerance in Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon
Dr. Erika Eliason
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney
Department of Forest Services, University of British Columbia


Every year, millions of sockeye salmon return to the Fraser River (BC, Canada) to perform their once-in-a-lifetime upriver spawning migration. There are over 100 geographically and genetically distinct populations within the Fraser River watershed, each of which experiences unique upriver migration conditions varying in migration distance (100-1,100 km), elevation gain (10-1,200 m), river temperature (9-22°C) and river flow (2,000-10,000 m3 s-1). Climate change-induced increases in summer river temperature have been associated with exceptionally high mortality in migrating salmon, raising conservation concerns. This research examined thermal tolerance and local adaptation across sockeye salmon populations over several levels of biological organization, from whole animal swimming and cardiorespiratory performance, organ performance, gross organ morphology, ultrastructure and receptors. Fraser River sockeye salmon populations appear to have physiologically adapted to their local upriver migration environment. In addition, some populations may be more susceptible to continued river warming, which has clear conservation concerns for biodiversity.


Throughout the last decade, I have conducted research at 7 different institutions in 6 countries (Canada, Australia, England, Norway, Puerto Rico, Fiji), studying topics as diverse as bark beetle communication, coral reef conservation and sexual behavior in monkeys before concentrating on fish physiology. My current research interests focus on understanding the underlying physiological mechanisms of ecological phenomena and conservation problems. Specifically, I’ve been studying temperature tolerance and local adaptation using adult migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon as a model.

BSc – Simon Fraser University, 1998-2003

MSc – University of British Columbia, 2003-2006

PhD – University of British Columbia, 2006-2011

Postdoc – University of British Columbia, 2011-2012

Postdoc – University of Sydney, 2012-2013


Eliason, E.J., T.D. Clark, M.J. Hague, L.M. Hanson, Z.S. Gallagher, K.M. Jeffries, M.K. Gale, D.A. Patterson, S.G. Hinch, A.P. Farrell. 2011. Differences in thermal tolerance among sockeye salmon populations. Science 332: 109-112

Wilson, S.M., S.G. Hinch, E.J. Eliason, A.P. Farrell, S.J. Cooke. 2012. Calibrating acoustic acceleration transmitters for estimating energy use by wild adult Pacific salmon. Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry A in press

Jeffries, K.J., S.G. Hinch, T. Sierocinski, T.D. Clark, E.J. Eliason, M. Donaldson, S. Li, P. Pavlidis, K. Miller. 2012. Consequences of high temperatures and premature mortality on the transcriptome and blood physiology of wild adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Ecology and Evolution 2: 1747-1764

Cooke, S.J., S.G. Hinch, M.R. Donaldson, T.D. Clark, E.J. Eliason, G.T. Crossin, G.D. Raby, K.M. Jeffries, M. Lapointe, K. Miller, D.A. Patterson, A.P. Farrell. 2012. Conservation physiology in practice: How physiological knowledge has improved our ability to sustainably manage Pacific salmon during up-river migration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 367: 1757-1769

Gale, M.K., S.G. Hinch, E.J. Eliason, S.J. Cooke, D.A. Patterson. 2011. Physiological impairment of adult sockeye salmon in fresh water after simulated capture-and-release across a range of temperatures. Fisheries Research 112: 85-95

Farrell, A.P., E.J. Eliason, E. Sandblom, T.D. Clark. 2009. Fish cardiorespiratory physiology in an era of climate change. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87: 835-851

Steinhausen, M. F., E. Sandblom, E.J. Eliason, C.V. Verhille, A. P. Farrell. 2008. The effect of acute temperature increases on the cardiorespiratory performance of resting and swimming sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 3915-3926


To join go to: This meeting does not require a password. Click “Join”. For audio conference toll number (US/Canada): 650-479-3207 Access code: 809 655 671. For assistance: On the left navigation bar, click “Support”, or contact: (206)860-3256.

WINTER 2013 Monster Seminar JAM Schedule

JAN 10 HEATHER TALLIS (Stanford University) “Fresh Water: It’s for the fish…and the People! Considering Ecosystem Services in Restoration, Impact Assessment and Monitoring”

JAN 17 ERIKA ELIASON (University of British Columbia & University of Sydney) “Local adaptation and thermal tolerance in adult migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon populations”

JAN 24 GREG CRUTSINGER (University of British Columbia) “A genes-to-ecosystems approach to ecology”

JAN 31 TISH CONWAY-CRANOS (NWFSC) “Oyster diets and ecosystem connectivity in Puget Sound”

FEB 07 ANNE SALOMON (Simon Fraser University) “Coupled human-ocean ecosystems: navigating toward ecological and social resilience”

FEB 14 JORDAN ROSENFELD (B.C. Ministry of Environment) “Relationships between growth, the cost of tissue synthesis, and standard metabolic rate: implications for habitat use and life-history adaptation in salmonids”

FEB 21 KAI CHAN (University of British Columbia) “Not impossible: integrating ecological considerations and cultural values into decision-making”

FEB 28 BILL PETERSON (NWFSC) “Tracking climate change in the northern California Current pelagic ecosystem: response of zooplankton in the Oregon upwelling zone to large-scale climate forcing with thoughts on the looming problems of hypoxia and ocean acidification”

MAR 07 DAVE CHECKLEY (University of California, San Diego) “Small pelagic fish and climate”

MAR 14 SEAN HAYES (SWFSC) “From Ridge Tops to Wave Tops; Exploring the life history of Central California Steelhead in stream, estuarine and ocean habitats”

MAR 21 JØRGEN BERGE (University of Tromsø) “Climate and Arctic ecosystems – the importance of timing, Arctic avocados, and Nemo”

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