Centennial Story 48: Nathan Taylor (Post Doc, 2006-2008) and Erin McClelland (MS 2004; PhD, 2008)

“Having recently moved, we sometimes find ourselves asking ‘how did we end up living in Madrid?’ The answer lies in part in our professional and personal experiences gained at SAFS.”

“While at SAFS, I studied salmon hatchery/wild interactions and growth through the lens of quantitative genetics with Kerry Naish”, says Erin. “I was also a teaching assistant for the Conservation Genetics class for several years, which had a considerable impact on my continued interest in science education.”

Erin in the field
Erin in the field

Nathan was at SAFS as a post-doctoral fellow from 2006 to 2008. He arrived at SAFS from Vancouver, Canada where he had studied growth and survival responses to a series of experimental fishing trials in remote British Columbia lakes. “While at SAFS, I modelled growth and survival response in Pacific salmon populations with Ray Hilborn and Nate Mantua using multi-area, multi-stock salmon models” he says.

“We met in the rich social and intellectual environment at SAFS and stayed together even as we moved to different jobs in different cities after leaving SAFS.” For Erin, this included teaching biology, chemistry and environmental science at Lakeside School in Seattle for a brief time. For Nathan, it meant taking another post-doctoral fellowship to work on Atlantic bluefin tuna at the University of British Columbia in 2008. “In 2010, we decided it was time to live in the same city and accepted jobs working for Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Pacific Biological Station (PBS) in Nanaimo BC.”

“As a Visiting Fellow at PBS, I studied evolution in the sockeye major histocompatibility complex and worked on a project examining the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish using genomics” say Erin. “Following my postdoc, I went on to work as the director of a small, non-profit in Nanaimo focused on offering hands-on science activities for kids aged 3-12.” In his initial position at PBS, Nathan applied some of the fish stock assessment skills honed at SAFS to Pacific herring and Pacific hake; for both fisheries he continued to collaborate with SAFS colleagues.

The SAFS alumni at our wedding
The SAFS alumni at our wedding

“Our daughter was born in 2013 and was soon indoctrinated into the joys of fisheries science! The day she came home (at age 4) to tell us about the spawning habits of plainfin midshipmen – which she had learned while out with her grandmother from a group doing a beach survey – is one of our favorite stories.”

“The allure of working on tuna stock assessment was too much for me to resist” according to Nathan, and in the summer of 2018 he accepted a job working at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, in Madrid. “While far away from our home base, we continue to cultivate our Pacific Northwest connections even as we find our footing in this new space.”

“SAFS was a place where we learned our scientific disciplines and it was also where we established professional and personal relationships. Even though Madrid is far away in space and time from SAFS, both the knowledge and the relationships we cultivated there endure.”

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