Early Life History Team

The Early Life History team focuses on ecological processes that affect the health and survival of early life stages of marine and anadromous fish species. Better understanding of these processes has tremendous value in predicting the abundance of an age cohort later in life (year class strength), and for evaluating the potential impact of both natural and human-induced environmental changes on fish populations. Despite extensive research efforts in this field in recent decades, definitive linkages between environmental patterns and survival of egg, larval, and juvenile stages remain elusive. Complex interactions of spatial and temporal patterns in habitat quality, physical conditions, and the community structure of interacting species presumably contribute to the difficulty in resolving discrete causal relationships.

For marine species, cycles in oceanographic conditions of nearshore nursery habitats and expected changes in those cycles associated with climate change can impact the health of adults during their reproductive period as well as their developing offspring following spawning. For anadromous species, early life stages in freshwater habitats are likewise impacted by natural environmental cycles and expected changes associated with climate change, such as increasing temperatures and potentially more frequent droughts. We use field studies, laboratory experiments, and modeling to examine the responses of fish to changing environmental conditions and the potential for populations to adapt to such changes.

The primary objective of our research is to provide basic ecological and biological data in support of fisheries management of groundfish species and recovery efforts for ESA listed salmonid species.

Team members

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Last modified: 9/1/2017