Linda D. Rhodes, Ph.D.
Linda Rhodes is a research microbiologist with experience in aquatic toxicology, molecular immunology, and microbial pathogenesis. She has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology (University of Washington), and has worked at NWFSC for over 30 years. In aquatic toxicology, she studied the relationship of marine sediment contamination to diseases in benthic fish such as English sole, and the effects of carcinogens such as dioxin on soft-shell clam and medaka. She performed extensive research on the bacterial pathogen Renibacterium salmoninarum, which causes a persistent and debilitating disease in salmon and trout called Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD). The BKD research encompassed the genetics of pathogenesis, host immune response, therapeutics and vaccines, and the ecology of pathogen transmission.
Recent research has focused on two areas: environmental microbiology and animal-associated microbial communities, or microbiomes. Environmental microbiology research relates the bacteria found in pelagic marine waters or in restored freshwater systems to food web components (e.g., higher trophic levels) or physical parameters (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen). Animal microbiome research ranges from food-driven changes in gut microbiome for aquaculture species to assessing the health of marine mammals from necropsy samples and from non-invasive samples such as feces or exhaled breath. The latter work is particularly important for ongoing efforts to understand the health of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.