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Sockeye carcasses tossed on shore over two decades spur tree growth

UW researchers walk along Hansen Creek in 2015.

For 20 years, dozens of University of Washington researchers have walked Hansen Creek — home to one of the densest sockeye salmon runs in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region — every day during spawning season, counting live salmon and recording information about the fish that died. After counting a dead fish — an inevitability here, either after spawning or in the paws of a brown bear — researchers throw it on shore to remove the carcass and not double-count it the next day. 

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Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast

Chinook salmon, shorter in length than in earlier years, swim in Oregon’s McKenzie River.

The largest and oldest Chinook salmon — fish also known as “kings” and prized for their exceptional size — have mostly disappeared along the West Coast. That’s the main finding of a new University of Washington-led study published Feb. 27 in the journal Fish and Fisheries. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 years of data from hatchery and wild Chinook populations from California to Alaska, looking broadly at patterns that emerged over the course of four decades and across thousands of miles of coastline. 

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Aquatic and Fishery Sciences' Chelsea Wood awarded Sloan Fellowship

Aquatic and Fishery Sciences' Chelsea Wood

Chelsea Wood, an assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, is among five faculty members across the University of Washington that have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Announced on Feb. 15, Sloan Fellowships are open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics — and honor those early-career researchers whose achievements mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders. 

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Simple rules can help fishery managers cope with ecological complexity

Schooling herring, one of the fisheries studied in this analysis.

To successfully manage fisheries, factors in the environment that affect fish — like food sources, predators and habitat — should be considered as part of a holistic management plan. That approach is gaining traction in fisheries management, but there has been no broad-scale evaluation of whether considering these ecosystem factors makes any economic sense for the commercial fishing industry. A team of ecologists and economists has addressed that question in the first study to test whether real-life ecological interactions produce economic benefits for the fishing industry. 

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