Monster Seminar Jam: Jesse Trushenski
This seminar is part of the NWFSC's Monster Seminar Jam series.
Jesse Trushenski (Riverence Holdings LLC) is presenting a talk, "Search for the Smoking Gun: Identifying and Addressing the Causes of Postrelease Morbidity and Mortality of Hatchery-Reared Snake River Sockeye Salmon Smolts"
As part of the Snake River Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka recovery effort, a dedicated smolt rearing facility was constructed in 2013 near Springfield, Idaho. In-hatchery performance and survival were typical for the species, but unexpectedly high mortality rates were observed in the first cohorts of Springfield-reared smolts upon release into Redfish Lake Creek (RFLC) and during out-migration. In response, a series of iterative experiments was conducted to identify the cause of the morbidity and mortality observed and to test a range of strategies to mitigate effects on postrelease survival. In the search for possible contributing factors, a difference in water chemistry was noted: whereas Springfield Hatchery's water source is “hard” and has high calcium concentrations, water at the RFLC release site is “soft” and has very low calcium concentrations. In both manipulative experiments and field evaluations, we demonstrated that juvenile Snake River Sockeye Salmon are profoundly affected by instantaneous transitions from high- to low-hardness water. Furthermore, we established a causal link between differences in water chemistry, the associated physiological stress, and morbidity/mortality observed during smolt releases and subsequent out-migration. A variety of mitigation strategies, including water mixing and water softening, was tested, but stepwise acclimation from high- to medium-hardness water and then from medium- to low-hardness water proved to be the most biologically and logistically effective means of addressing the identified water chemistry differences. Estimates of postrelease survival to Lower Granite Dam (~430 river kilometers downstream) indicated significantly higher survival fo acclimated groups (68.7–75.5%) compared to smolts directly released into RFLC (18.1%). Although Snake River Sockeye Salmon smolt survival rates will undoubtedly fluctuate annually with environmental conditions, it is clear that the elevated morbidity and mortality observed in previous years can be addressed through proper acclimation of smolts prior to release. This presentation will tell the story of the search for the ‘smoking gun’ and the value of physiological problem-solving in fisheries science.
Jesse Trushenski is a fisheries scientist with specific interests in conservation and commercial aquaculture. She is the Chief Science Officer and Vice President for Animal Welfare for Riverence, the largest producer of farmed Rainbow Trout and Steelhead in the Americas with operations based in Washington and Idaho. Riverence also produces premium Rainbow Trout genetics and is the only commercial supplier of Atlantic Salmon and Coho Salmon eggs located in the USA. Jesse manages Riverence’s R&D portfolio and provides executive-level science leadership across the company’s operations. In short, she is responsible for helping Riverence find better ways to put fish on the table—to produce a better fish, to raise it sustainably and ethically, and to put wholesome seafood within everyone’s reach. Jesse also leads North American R&D initiatives for STIM, a Norwegian company providing fish health products, veterinary and environmental services to the Atlantic Salmon aquaculture industry worldwide. Whether it’s fish nutrition, physiology, or health, Jesse has always been driven by the practical applications of science, going from data to information and information to action. Before joining the private sector, Jesse was a tenured Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University and Fish Pathologist Supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Jesse has also fulfilled numerous leadership roles within the fisheries and aquaculture communities. She has chaired or served on multiple advisory panels and other committees addressing aquaculture research, regulation, and policy on a national scale. Jesse is a Past-President and Fellow of the American Fisheries Society, and was recently appointed to serve as a member of the National Fish Habitat Board.
Trushenski, J.T., J.D. Bowker, G.E. Whelan, and J.A. Heindel. AFS 150th Anniversary Celebration: From Johnny Fish-seed to hatchery-bashing to shaping the shoal of aquaculture stakeholders. Fisheries, In press.
Trushenski, J.T., D.A. Larsen, M.A. Middleton, M. Jakaitis, E.L. Johnson, C.C. Kozfkay, and P.A. Kline. 2019. Search for the smoking gun: identifying and addressing the causes of postrelease morbidity and mortality of hatchery-reared Snake River Sockeye Salmon smolts. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 148:875-895. (Featured Paper)
Trushenski, J.T., G.E. Whelan, and J.D. Bowker. 2018. Why Keep Hatcheries? Weighing the Economic Cost and Value of Fish Production for Public Use and Public Trust Purposes. Fisheries 43:284-293.
Trushenski, J.T., H.L. Blankenship, J.D. Bowker, T.A. Flagg, J.A. Hesse, K.M. Leber, D.D. MacKinlay, D.J. Maynard, C.M. Moffitt, V.A. Mudrak, K.T. Scribner, S.F. Stuewe, J.A. Sweka, G.E. Whelan, C. Young-Dubovsky. 2015. Introduction to the HaMAR symposium: considerations for use of hatcheries and hatchery-origin fish. North American Journal of Aquaculture 77:327-342.
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