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New tool for the safe passage of fish through hydroelectric dams

More than 80% of the world’s renewable electricity comes from hydropower generated from dams, but these dams impede upriver passage of fish, and potentially damage fish migrating downstream that pass through turbines or over slipways. A new toolset has now been developed that can better estimate injury and death rates from fish passing downstream, using the data from artificial “sensor fish” that mimic the passage of fish through turbines and slipways while collecting high-resolution data. 

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Timing of sea-ice retreat affects where birds are found

The Bering Sea has highly variable sea ice extent in winter, which can be used to tease out the effects of future climate change on marine animals such as seabirds. In a new study, SAFS professor George Hunt and coauthors examined how seabirds change location in years when sea ice melts earlier in the year. In these years, seabirds that feed far from land tend to come closer inshore, while seabirds that feed closer to shore move further offshore. 

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Centennial Stories 9

Jeffrey Olsen (BS, 1981; PhD, 1999)
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. 

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Centennial Stories 8

Bernie May (MS, 1975)
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. 

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Centennial Stories 7

Andrew Hendry (MS, 1995; PhD, 1998)
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. 

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Centennial Stories 6

Fred Allendorf (MS, 1973; PhD, Fisheries & Genetics, 1975)
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. 

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Centennial Stories 5

Standish (Stan) K. Allen, Jr (PhD, 1987)
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. 

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Massive death wave of sea birds was caused by a marine heat wave

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. 

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Better measures of citizen science

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. 

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Moving from single-species management to ecosystem management

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. 

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