The Behavioral Ecology Team collaborates with geneticists and physiologists to conduct research to understand how captive environments affect the behavior and fitness of salmon, steelhead trout and other marine species through developmental and evolutionary processes. A major objective is to empirically evaluate the benefits and risks of artificial propagation programs implemented to maintain or recover depleted populations (conservation hatcheries).Research is conducted in a variety of settings, including natural freshwater and marine systems for multi-population assessments, mesocosms, and fish behavior laboratories.
Our current research opportunity focuses on quantifying evidence for local adaptation in Pacific Northwest river systems influenced by artificial propagation and contemporary habitat changes. Approaches include investigating within- and among-population variation in reproductive traits and 'common-garden' experiments focusing on important life history traits during incubation, freshwater rearing, and seaward migration. Appropriate and relevant disciplines include quantitative genetics, evolutionary biology and ecology, behavioral ecology, fish behavior, and aquaculture.
Research is expected to help guide the implementation, evaluation, and operation of hatchery programs for conservation and harvest, provide realistic expectations for the effective use of artificial propagation, and/or identify risks associated with specific approaches.
Berejikian, B.A., and Van Doornik, D.M. 2018. Increased natural reproduction and genetic diversity one generation after cessation of a steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) conservation hatchery program. Plos One 13(1).
Berejikian, B.A., Hard, J.J., Tatara, C.P., Van Doornik, D.M., Swanson, P., and Larsen, D.A. 2017. Rearing strategies alter patterns of size-selective mortality and heritable size variation in steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 74(2): 273-283.
Doctor K, Berejikian B, Hard JJ, VanDoornik D (2014) Growth-mediated life history traits of steelhead reveal phenotypic divergence and plastic response to temperature. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 143:317-333
Behavioral ecology; Artificial propagation; Reproduction; Local adaptation; Life history; Conservation; Captive breeding; Steelhead; Chinook salmon; Migration, Domestication selection; Adaptive genetic variation