Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Fish Ecology Programs


Dr. Richard Zabel
Division Director
Dr. Sandra Downing
Division Coordinator
Org Chart
Staff Directory

Fish Ecology Division

Researchers in the Fish Ecology Division help resource managers and the public understand the ecological links between important fishery resources and their Pacific Northwest habitats. We investigate factors that influence growth, distribution, and survival of commercially and culturally important species such as Pacific salmon, hake, and lamprey. We also help local management agencies evaluate stream, river, and watershed restoration efforts to recover salmon stocks listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

On the Columbia River, researchers have worked for over 30 years to help mitigate the impacts of dams and reservoirs to migrating adult and juvenile fish. Today, our efforts focus on understanding migratory behavior of fish in the river, estuary, and ocean, as well as ecosystem processes affecting their growth and survival in these contrasting environments. A major area of interest is the Columbia River estuary, where researchers study the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that affect population variability. Staff are stationed in Seattle and Pasco, Washington, and in Newport and Pt. Adams, Oregon.