In 1977, while working on improving salmon smolt quality at the University of Washington, Walt Dickhoff began collaborating with NWFSC researchers. He joined the NWFSC in 1986, working in the Coastal Zone and Estuarine Studies Division. Walt became the Director of the Resource Enhancement & Utilization Technologies (REUT) Division in 2003, and the acting Director of the Environmental Conservation (EC) Division in 2010. Walt is leading the merger of EC and REUT into the Environmental and Fisheries Sciences (EFS) Division. He received A.B. (biological sciences, 1970) and Ph.D. (physiology, 1976) degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Walt is an endocrine physiologist working on growth and development of fish, particularly salmon. Focusing on the parr-to-smolt transformation of juvenile salmon, he strives to develop methods to improve smolt quality and smolt-to-adult survival at salmon hatcheries. Current research involves studies of the growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor and insulin-like growth factor binding proteins. A goal of this line of research is to better understand how fish growth is controlled and develop a non-destructive measure of fish growth and fitness.