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Stress, Disease and Pathogens

Our research in this area concerns the intersection of fish disease, climate change and fishing practices for adult Pacific salmon. The Fraser River has warmed by ~2°C in recent decades and high water temperature enhances the rate of progression of bacterial and fungal diseases in Pacific salmon. We also know that being captured and released from fisheries gears is a very stressful event for salmon; fish can be injured by hooks or nets and, following release, fish can die before reaching spawning grounds (delayed mortality).Together, Pacific salmon migrating in warm rivers and encountering fisheries gear may be at a greater risk of dying before spawning due to exposure to environmental and human-related stressors that increase expression of disease. We are also interested in how pathogen burden of salmon in the ocean affects survival and behaviour during the freshwater migration. Our research examines pathogens using genomic techniques and disease using histopathological approaches, and links these metrics of fish health to climate change and fish handling practices. This research program provides fisheries management with a mechanistic understanding, and tools for predicting, delayed mortality in migrating salmon.


Selected Publications

Miller, K.M., Teffer, A., Tucker, S., Li, S., Schulze, A.D., Trudel, M., Juanes, F., Tabata, A., Kaukinen, K.H., Ginther, N.G., Ming, T.J., Cooke, S.J., Hipfner, J.M., Patterson, D.A., Hinch, S.G. (2014). Infectious disease, shifting climates, and opportunistic predators: cumulative factors potentially impacting wild salmon declines. Evolutional Applications 7:812-855.

For other publications, please see our Publications page.