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Fish Growth and Ocean Ecology Research

Research on the growth of juvenile salmon and sablefish along the U.S. West Coast.


Growth is an integrated physiological response encompassing external environmental conditions (food quality and quantity, temperature, water quality) and internal physiological status (health, stress, reproductive state). 

The growth of juvenile fishes often correlates with survival. Measures of growth can predict recruitment and may reveal changes/shifts in the ecosystem and habitat in which fish live.


Our research in this area aims to:

  • Establish and validate endocrine indices (“biomarkers”) of growth. 
  • Assess growth indices as ecosystem indicators and measures of habitat quality in fishes.

The body size of juvenile sockeye salmon being measured.
Photo: NOAA Fisheries


Supplies and equipment are prepared for physiological sampling of juvenile salmon at sea.
Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Current Projects

  • Growth of juvenile salmon in the Northern California Current.
  • Growth of juvenile salmon in the lower Columbia River and Estuary.
  • Sexually dimorphic growth in sablefish and its impacts on aquaculture


  • Brian Burke and Regan McNatt, NWFSC Fish Ecology Division
  • Laurie Weitkamp, NWFSC Conservation Biology Division
  • Cheryl Morgan, Oregon State University


Dr. Adam Luckenbach
Program Manager

Last updated by Northwest Fisheries Science Center on April 01, 2021