Oregon State University

Miller 2012-2013 Research Update

Marine and Anadromous Fisheries Ecology

Jessica A. Miller, Associate Professor, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station and Department of Fisheries and Wildlife


Program Objectives

The Marine and Anadromous Fisheries Ecology program examines the life history of marine and anadromous fishes, particularly Pacific salmon, in order to advance ecological and evolutionary understanding and assist fishery management and conservation efforts. The program incorporates field studies, laboratory experiments, and analytical chemistry. Field studies focus on movements and migration patterns of marine and anadromous fishes and the role that coastal and estuarine habitats play in their early life history. Laboratory studies are designed to test and validate assumptions associated with analytical approaches, such as the chemical composition of fish ear bones (otoliths), that we use to elucidate migratory patterns in marine and anadromous fishes.


Three students graduated this year! Dr. José Marin Jarrin defended his dissertation (The role of surf zones in the early life history of Chinook salmon) and is currently a post-doctoral research associate at Central Michigan University. James Losee completed his MS degree (Does interannual variability of trophically transmitted parasites in Chinook and coho salmon relate to physical and biological processes in the Northern California Current?) and is working as a Fisheries Biologist at the Washington Department of Fisheries & Wildlife. Andrew Claiborne completed his MS degree (Size-dependent survival of Columbia River hatchery and naturally-reared Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha during early marine residence) and is also employed as a Fisheries Biologist at the Washington Department of Fisheries & Wildlife.

During Fall 2012 and Winter 2013, we were busy tracking Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) arriving along the west coast of the United States as part of a National Science Foundation grant to characterize the marine biota arriving on JTMD. Our goal was to sample the biota arriving on items along our coast to determine the non-native species present and estimate the abundance and reproductive condition. We have tracked >50 unique debris items and maintain a blog on our efforts at http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/floatingdock/.

We welcomed two interns this summer, Laury Perry from Portland State University and Jessica Porquez, a post-baccalaureate student from Chapman University. Laury was a participant in the National Science Foundation Summer REU program at HMSC and Jessica was a Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) intern. The LMRCSC is a NOAA-funded collaboration to promote under-represented communities in marine science. Current graduate students Erin Fedewa, MS, and Marisa Litz, PhD, are hard at work in the laboratory.  Erin is examining how climate variation influences growth and survival of early life stages of northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra) in the Gulf of Alaska. For her dissertation, Marisa is characterizing the lipid and fatty acid profiles of prey available to juvenile salmon as they begin their ocean migration with the goal of relating ocean conditions and prey quality to salmon growth.  LaTreese Denson, a master’s degree candidate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, started at OSU in Winter 2012.  Her primary research interest is to understand how aquatic ecosystems function. It is her ultimate goal to learn how to better represent these aquatic ecosystems using various mathematical models.

Jessica Miller co-taught Early Life History of Fishes with Lorenzo Ciannelli in Fall 2012. Jessica was also invited to participate in two regional workshops on Pacific salmon, including a review of the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program and a synthesis on the role of predation on salmonids in the Central Valley, CA. These workshops provided an opportunity to learn more about how salmon respond in other highly modified watersheds, which provides a valuable perspective on our work on the Columbia River. Over the year, lab personnel contributed oral and poster presentations at local, regional, and national meetings, including a plenary presentation at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium and a webinar on our JTMD research.

Contact Info

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2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR  97365
Tel:  541 867-0230
(at the Hatfield 
Marine Science Center)


2001 Marine Drive, Room 253
Astoria, OR  97103
503 325-4531
(at the Seafood Research 
& Education Center)