Studying Salmon in the Field
When salmon numbers declined several years ago, Oregon intensified its investment in research to learn about the salmon’s journey from larval stage, through juvenile, to spawning adult. The Salmon Ecology Research Program that resulted from this investment allowed OSU to expand its research efforts - new faculty members were hired in Newport, for the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, and in Hermiston, at the Agricultural Research & Extension Center. This increased effort – following the fish from its native stream, through the estuary, out into the ocean, and then back again to its home stream – expanded collaboration among farmers, fishermen, and scientists, and has allowed us to more accurately piece together its needs.
Michael Banks, Jessica Miller, and Kathleen O’Malley, all COMES-Newport, are working toward answering many of the questions surroundiing the salmon issue. Michael, (Marine Fisheries Genetics), has focused on the genetic characterization of natural populations, and methods for resolving hybridized populations.
Jessica, (Marine and Anadromous Fisheries Ecology), is studying the salmon’s ecology and life history, exploring various characteristics such as frequency of reproduction and migration patterns.
And Kathleen’s research (Ecological and Conservation Genetics of Fishes) is directed toward understanding how genetics and ecology influence life history variations in natural populations of marine and freshwater fishes. She’s also focused on identifying the genes that regulate the timing of migration and breeding of the salmon.
Through their research, these three – along with David Wooster and Sandy DeBano, of OSU's Hermiston Experiment Station – are generating information relevant to the sound management and conservation of this species.