I received a BS degree from the College of Fisheries in 1981. At that time, rather than attempt graduate school, I pursued employment. I wanted to experience hands-on fish biology, so I spent a couple years on the seasonal circuit doing all kinds of field work from Washington State to Alaska. It was great! I got to work for fish biologists in field camps, sample and count juvenile and adult salmon, survey fishermen, and do remote eggtakes.Read more
Returning to the UW after two years in the army, I completed my BS in the newly created major in Molecular Biology. During my last year, I attended a class in Fish Genetics taught by Bill Hershberger. Fred Allendorf (then an MS student) gave a guest lecture on the use of genetic data from allozyme electrophoresis to address questions in fisheries management.Read more
In 1991, when I walked out of my last final exam in my final year at the University of Victoria, I cold-called my intended PhD supervisor, Dr. Tom Quinn. I gave a long, reasonably well-prepared spiel about my passion for salmon and my desire to do graduate work in his lab. A modest silence followed my monologue and then a “Well, it sounds like you would make an excellent graduate student but, unfortunately, you missed the application deadline by six months.” Momentarily crushed, my enthusiasm recovered when he suggested that I come work for him over the fall.Read more
I began graduate school at the College of Fisheries in 1971 after graduating from Penn State. I had worked in the genetics lab of Jim Wright at Penn State, and he recommended that I attend grad school at UW because a former student of his (Bill Hershberger) had recently joined the Fisheries faculty.
The College of Fisheries was not a good place to study genetics in the early 1970s.
I admit that my undergraduate experience was underwhelming. However, eventually (and fortunately) I found my way to the University of Maine to study for an MS degree in Zoology. In Maine, there were two seminal developments for my career: I discovered shellfish aquaculture and was fortuitously appointed as research assistant on a project to make triploid salmon. In time, these two paths merged, and I was integrally involved in the creation of the first triploid shellfish—oysters, clams, and scallops.Read more
A marine heat wave called The Warm Blob parked itself over the North Pacific Ocean in 2014-15, and has now been determined to be responsible for an unusually large mass mortality of Cassin’s Auklets. Volunteers involved in three citizen science projects (COASST, BeachWatch, BeachCOMBERS) scour beaches from California to British Columbia, and reported thousands of dead Cassin’s Auklets at the same time that the Blob was present.Read more
Science can often benefit from broad participation in data collection by the public. For example, people recording their bird sightings in the eBird app has led to multiple scientific papers. Now a new paper provides valuable advice on how to set up and run such citizen science projects, including how to start a citizen science project, how to better collect data, and how to measure the impact of such projects.Read more
Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has become popular in recent years, but there is broad debate about what it means and how to implement it. At its simplest level, EBFM involves improving fisheries management by moving beyond management designed for single species, towards considering interactions that are important for entire ecosystems. Part if the reason this is difficult, says a new paper, is that perceptions of what counts as EBFM differ among stock assessment scientists, conservationists, ecologists, and managers.Read more
Many species of fish spend some of the time on the ocean bottom, and some of their time far off the bottom, which makes them hard to survey. Acoustic surveys (that bounce sound off fish schools), can estimate the midwater component of so-called “semipelagic” fish, while trawl surveys can measure the portion on the bottom. Now a new method has been developed that combines data from both types of surveys into a single estimate using information about the environment (bottom light, temperature, sand type, and fish size).Read more
Scientists currently classify groups of reef species by the depths at which they occur, with the so-called “mesophotic” species living at depths of 40-150 meters. Now, though, new data suggests that an additional depth zone is needed for reef species living in the coral reef twilight zone, to be called the “rariphotic” zone, covering the depths of 130-310 meters (400-1000 ft).Read more