Stress, Disease, and Pathogens

Our research in this area concerns the intersection of fish disease, climate change and fishing practices for adult Pacific salmon. The Fraser River has warmed by ~2°C in recent decades and high water temperature enhances the rate of progression of bacterial and fungal diseases in Pacific salmon. We also know that being captured and released from fisheries gears is a very stressful event for salmon; fish can be injured by hooks or nets and, following release, fish can die before reaching spawning grounds (delayed mortality).Together, Pacific salmon migrating in warm rivers and encountering fisheries gear may be at a greater risk of dying before spawning due to exposure to environmental and human-related stressors that increase expression of disease. We are also interested in how pathogen burden of salmon in the ocean affects survival and behaviour during the freshwater migration. Our research examines pathogens using genomic techniques and disease using histopathological approaches, and links these metrics of fish health to climate change and fish handling practices. This research program provides fisheries management with a mechanistic understanding, and tools for predicting, delayed mortality in migrating salmon.

Selected Publications

Stevenson, C.F., Bass, A.L., Furey, N.B., Miller, K.M., Li, S., Rechisky, E.L., Porter, A.D., Welch, D.W, Hinch, S.G. 2020. Infectious agents and gene expression differ between sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) smolt age groups but do not predict migration survival determined by telemetry. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 77(3): 484-495. SELECTED AS AN EDITOR’S CHOICE FOR THE JOURNAL IN 2020.

Teffer, A.K., Hinch, S.G., Miller, K.M., Jeffries, K.M., Patterson, D.A., Cooke, S.J., Farrell, A.P., Kaukinen, K.H., Li, S., Juanes, F. 2019. Cumulative effects of thermal and fisheries stressors reveal sex-specific effects on infection development and early mortality of adult coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 92(5):505–529.

Bass, A.L., Hinch, S.G., Teffer, A.K., Patterson, D.A., Miller, K.M. 2019. Fisheries capture and infectious agents are associated with travel rate and survival of Chinook salmon during spawning migration. Fisheries Research 209: 156-166.

Teffer, A.K., Bass, A.L., Miller, K.S., Patterson, D.A., Juanes, F., S.G. Hinch. 2018. Infections, fisheries capture, temperature and host responses: multi-stressor influences on survival and behavior of adult Chinook salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75(11): 2069-2083.

Healy, S.J., Hinch, S.G., Bass, A.L., Furey, N.B., Miller, K.M., Porter, A.D., Rechisky, E.L., Welch, D.L., Lotto, A.G. 2018. Transcriptome profiles relate to migration fate in hatchery steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) smolts. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75(11): 2053-2068.

Miller, K.M., Teffer, A., Tucker, S., Li, S., Schulze, A.D., Trudel, M., Juanes, F., Tabata, A., Kaukinen, K.H., Ginther, N.G., Ming, T.J., Cooke, S.J., Hipfner, J.M., Patterson, D.A., Hinch, S.G. (2014). Infectious disease, shifting climates, and opportunistic predators: cumulative factors potentially impacting wild salmon declines. Evolutionary Applications 7(7):812-855.

Jeffries, K.M., Hinch, S.G., Gale, M.K., Clark, T.D., Lotto, A.G., Casselman, M.T., Li, S., Rechisky, E.L., Porter, A.D., Welch, D.W., Miller, K.M. (2014) Immune response genes and pathogen presence predict migration survival in wild salmon smolts. Molecular Ecology 23:5803-5815.

For other publications, please see our Publications page.