The Marine & Anadromous Fisheries Ecology lab studies how animals move throughout rivers and oceans (their transport, dispersal, and migration) and how that movement affects their growth and survival. Headed by Jessica Miller, researchers in the lab focus primarily on economically and ecologically important species, mostly those found along the west coast of the United States. Their research often relies on the examination of animal hard parts , including scales, otoliths, vertebrae, and shells. Referred to as "biogeochemical markers", these structures are rich stores of data about individuals that allow researchers to determine how environmental variation and climate change can affect the life histories of fish and invertebrates, with an eye towards how that information can inform management. All of this research comes together to inform sound conservation and management strategies of our marine resources.
Current projects include collaborative efforts to determine the mechanisms driving high rates of early marine mortality in juvenile Columbia River Chinook salmon; quantify the effects of marine heatwaves on the early life stages of Pacific Cod; evaluate the effects of increased temperatures and ocean acidification on the early life stages of coastal fishes; improve our understanding of Pacific lamprey ecology; determine the prevalence of microplastics in marine plankton in the Northern California Current; and evaluate potential biological control measures that could aid the oyster aquaculture industry.