Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Laurie Weitkamp - Staff Profile

Federal, NOAA Fisheries
Job Title:
Research Fisheries Biologist


Laurie has been a Research Fisheries Biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 1992, moving from the Montlake lab to the Newport Field Station in 2004. Laurie’s initial responsibilities at the Center focused on nearshore studies in Puget Sound, but switched to the scientific basis for Endangered Species Act listings beginning in 1994, when she led the West Coast coho salmon status review.  She has since served on Biological Review Teams and Technical Recovery Teams and worked on multiple status review updates for ESA-listed salmon populations. Laurie’s primary research interests concern the estuarine and marine ecology of Pacific salmon, and the factors that affect their survival.  Other interests include Pacific salmon life history diversity, the bioenergetics of introduced salmon populations, and lamprey estuarine ecology. Laurie serves on a variety of committees, including the Coho Technical Committee of the Pacific Salmon Commission. Laurie holds three degrees from the University of Washington: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Fisheries and a Ph.D. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

Current Research

Laurie has led a joint Conservation Biology/Fish Ecology Division study of juvenile salmon and steelhead in migratory corridors of the lower Columbia River estuary since 2006.  This study provides the last opportunity to easily catch juvenile salmon before ocean entry, but also samples the larger fish assemblage in pelagic habitats of the estuary. Data collected by the study has been used to examine stock-specific migration timing of juvenile salmon and steelhead and its influence on initial marine growth rates, fine-scale estuarine habitat use by juvenile salmon and other fishes, and prey selectivity by avian predators. She is also actively involved in research on juvenile salmon in marine waters of the northern California Current.