UW News

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

February 27, 2018

Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast

chinook salmon

The largest and oldest Chinook salmon — fish also known as “kings” and prized for their exceptional size — have mostly disappeared along the West Coast, according to a new study led by the University of Washington.

February 20, 2018

Beluga whales dive deeper, longer to find food in Arctic

beluga whales

Reductions in sea ice in the Arctic have a clear impact on animals such as polar bears that rely on frozen surfaces for feeding, mating and migrating. But sea ice loss is changing Arctic habitat and affecting other species in more indirect ways, new research finds. Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic…

February 15, 2018

Five UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

Bronze W fall

Five faculty members at the University of Washington have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows, announced Feb. 15, include Maya Cakmak, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Jiun-Haw Chu, assistant professor of clean energy and physics; Arka Majumdar, assistant professor of electrical engineering and physics; Jessica Werk, assistant professor of astronomy; and Chelsea Wood, assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.

February 9, 2018

Research uncovers the mysterious lives of narwhals


New findings could help scientists understand a little more about the elusive narwhal and how these marine mammals might fare in a changing climate.

February 8, 2018

Simple rules can help fishery managers cope with ecological complexity

herring fish

A team of ecologists and economists is the first to test whether real-life ecological interactions produce economic benefits for the fishing industry. The results were published online Jan. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

January 22, 2018

Small hydroelectric dams increase globally with little research, regulations

example of small hydropower

University of Washington researchers have published the first major assessment of small hydropower dams around the world — including their potential for growth — and highlight the incredibly variability in how dams of varying sizes are categorized, regulated and studied.

January 18, 2018

Q&A: Forgotten fish illustrator remembered through first publication

Large Scaled Gurnard

More than three centuries ago, a French monk made thousands of drawings of plants and animals, traveling under the authority of King Louis XIV to the French Antilles to collect and document the natural history of the islands. These drawings were often the first ever recorded for each species and were completed in remarkable detail….

January 17, 2018

Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive


A small group of fishes — possibly the world’s cleverest carnivorous grazers — feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.

December 18, 2017

Fish to benefit if large dams adopt new operating approach


Recognizing that many large dams are here to stay, a University of Washington team is investigating an emerging solution to help achieve freshwater conservation goals by re-envisioning the ways in which water is released by dams.

December 13, 2017

UW project seeks sustainable blueprint for hydropower dams

children fishing

A new NSF-funded project will use findings in the Mekong River basin as an example of how three critical issues — feeding people, generating energy and maintaining functioning ecosystems — can be addressed thoughtfully and progressively in the developing world.

December 7, 2017

New research shows hydropower dams can be managed without an all-or-nothing choice between energy and food

A women fishes in Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia.

The University of Washington, Arizona State University and other collaborators have proposed a method in the Dec. 8 issue of Science that allows hydroelectric dam operators to generate power in ways that protect — and possibly improve — food supplies and businesses throughout the Mekong river basin in Southeast Asia.

November 17, 2017

When to fish: Timing matters for fish that migrate to reproduce

Alaska sockeye salmon.

A new University of Washington study points to yet another human factor that is hampering the ability of fish to reproduce: the timing of our fishing seasons. The study considers how the timing of fishing efforts might disproportionately target certain fish and change the life history patterns of entire populations.

September 18, 2017

Catching a diversity of fish species — instead of specializing — means more stable income for fishers

The industrial croaker fishery off the coast of Uruguay is one of the fisheries where management strategies are being implemented in strong cooperation among fishers, managers and scientists. Credit: Sebastián Jiménez /DINARA

Researchers analyzed nearly 30 years of revenue and permitting records for individuals fishing in Alaskan waters and tracked how their fishing choices, in terms of permits purchased and species caught, influenced their year-to-year income volatility.

September 14, 2017

Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure

head of old halibut fish

A new study by University of Washington scientists has found that, for dozens of fish populations around the globe, old fish are greatly depleted — mainly because of fishing pressure. The paper, published online Sept. 14 in Current Biology, is the first to report that old fish are missing in many populations around the world.

September 13, 2017

Climate change challenges the survival of fish across the world

john day river

  Climate change will force many amphibians, mammals and birds to move to cooler areas outside their normal ranges, provided they can find space and a clear trajectory among our urban developments and growing cities. But what are the chances for fish to survive as climate change continues to warm waters around the world? University…

August 24, 2017

Scientists to create digital encyclopedia of 3-D vertebrate specimens

snake scan

A $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant will daylight thousands of specimens from their museum shelves by CT scanning 20,000 vertebrates and making these data-rich, 3-D images available online to researchers, educators, students and the public. The University of Washington is a partner institution contributing most of the fish and bat scans.

August 16, 2017

Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related

James Dimond snorkeling to collect coral in Belize. He collected 27 coral samples from different environments and with a range of branch thicknesses.

As corals face threats from warming oceans, a new study uses modern genetic-sequencing tools to help reveal the relationships between three similar-looking corals.

July 17, 2017

Bottom-trawling techniques leave different traces on the seabed

boat with net

Bottom trawling techniques are not all created equal. The most common, otter trawling, removes about 6 percent of the animal and plant life from the seabed, while other methods remove closer to one third.

June 1, 2017

Video shows invasive lionfish feasting on new Caribbean fish species

the ember goby

Researchers from the University of Washington and Smithsonian Institution have reported the first observed case of lionfish preying upon a fish species that had not yet been named. Their results, published May 25 in PLOS ONE, may indicate an uncertain future for other fish found in the largely unexplored deep-ocean coral reefs.

May 18, 2017

Seattle seawall’s novel fish features are a potential model for the world

finished seawall

As tourists and residents visit Seattle’s downtown waterfront, it may not be immediately apparent they are walking on arguably the largest, most ambitious urban seawall project in the world that prioritizes habitat for young fish and the invertebrates they feed on.

April 24, 2017

Conservation not an effective tool for reducing infectious disease in people, study finds

Zebras seen in Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Conservation projects that protect forests and encourage a diversity of plants and animals can provide many benefits to humans. But improved human health is not among those benefits ― at least when health is measured through the lens of infectious disease. That’s the main finding of a paper published April 24 in Philosophical Transactions of…

March 7, 2017

‘Black swan’ events strike animal populations

black swan in nature

A new analysis by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University is the first to document that black swan events also occur in animal populations and usually manifest as massive, unexpected die-offs.

February 22, 2017

UW’s Kristin Laidre awarded Pew marine fellowship to study effects of climate change, subsistence hunting on polar bears

Kristin Laidre

A new, two-part project led by the UW’s Kristin Laidre aims to explore the interacting effects of climate change and subsistence hunting on polar bears, while also illuminating the cultural value of the species to indigenous peoples and the role they play in conservation.

February 21, 2017

Winners, losers among fish when landscape undergoes change

fish swimming underwater

A new study by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University finds that some fish lose out while others benefit as urban and agricultural development encroaches on streams and rivers across the United States.

January 18, 2017

Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior

Three-spine stickleback.

A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska’s most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.

January 17, 2017

Diversification key to resilient fishing communities

Fishing boats in Juneau, Alaska.

Fishing communities can survive ― and even thrive ― as fish abundance and market prices shift if they can catch a variety of species and nimbly move from one fishery to the next, a new University of Washington study finds.

January 12, 2017

Ocean acidification to hit West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, new assessment shows

Dungeness crab.

The acidification of the ocean expected as seawater absorbs increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will reverberate through the West Coast’s marine food web, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect, new research shows.

January 5, 2017

Arctic sea ice loss impacts beluga whale migration

A beluga whale pod in the Chukchi Sea.

A new study led by the University of Washington finds the annual migration of some beluga whales in Alaska is altered by sea ice changes in the Arctic, while other belugas do not appear to be affected.

December 19, 2016

Investing in fisheries management improves fish populations

Fishing boats in coastal Peru.

Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that successful fisheries management can be best achieved by implementing and enforcing science-based catch or effort limits.

November 16, 2016

2 UW scientists lead effort to craft ‘blueprint’ for holistic fisheries management

A herring fishing boat.

Two University of Washington professors are leading an effort to help U.S. fisheries consider the larger marine environment, rather than just a single species, when managing a fishery.

November 7, 2016

Mislabeled seafood may be more sustainable, new study finds

Fish labeled red snapper seen on ice in a fish market.

A University of Washington study is the first to broadly examine the ecological and financial impacts of seafood mislabeling. The paper, published online Nov. 2 in Conservation Letters, finds that in most cases, mislabeling actually leads people to eat more sustainably, because the substituted fish is often more plentiful and of a better conservation status than the fish on the label.

September 27, 2016

NSF award to launch citizen science initiative across Pacific Rim

Marco Hatch works with native students to instrument mudflats of Puget Sound for environmental data collection.

A team of researchers led by the University of Washington believes creating a network of community-based science is possible with new support from the National Science Foundation.

Missing fish catch data? Not necessarily a problem, new study says


A new study by University of Washington scientists finds that in many cases, misreporting caught fish doesn’t always translate to overfishing. The study was published online this month in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

September 8, 2016

How do shark teeth bite? Reciprocating saw, glue provide answers

A tiger shark.

A recent University of Washington study sought to understand why shark teeth are shaped differently and what biological advantages various shapes have by testing their performance under realistic conditions.

August 26, 2016

Interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change

animated map of U.S.

The University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.

August 18, 2016

Twins, especially male identical twins, live longer

Twin boys

Analysis of almost 3,000 pairs of Danish twins shows that they live longer than the general population, especially if they are identical.

August 16, 2016

Big fish — and their pee — are key parts of coral reef ecosystems

The Almaco jack is a large predator fish, pictured here in the Caribbean.

Large, carnivorous fish excrete almost half of the key nutrients, phosphorus and nitrogen, that are essential for the survival of coral reefs.

July 19, 2016

UW professor is digitizing every fish species in the world

fish scan

UW professor Adam Summers is scanning and digitizing all 25,000 species of fish that live on Earth. Each species soon will have a high-resolution, 3-D visual replica online, available to all and downloadable for free.

July 13, 2016

Opinion: Closing parts of the ocean to fishing not enough to protect marine ecosystems

Four line graphs showing rising trneds

In a three-page commentary in the journal Nature, fisheries professor Ray Hilborn argues that establishing marine protected areas is not as effective at protecting marine biodiversity as properly managing recreational and commercial fisheries.

July 6, 2016

Acid attack — can mussels hang on for much longer?


Scientists from the University of Washington have found evidence that ocean acidification caused by carbon emissions can prevent mussels attaching themselves to rocks and other substrates, making them easy targets for predators and threatening the mussel farming industry.

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