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College of Arts and Sciences spawning salmon

Salmon face double whammy from toxic stormwater

SalmoWSU researchers have found that salmon face a double whammy when they swim in the stormwater runoff of urban roadways.

First, as scientists learned a couple years ago, toxic pollution in the water can kill them. WSU researchers have now determined that fish that survive polluted stormwater are still at risk.

Experiments on both larval zebrafish, a model for salmon, and actual coho salmon showed that toxic runoff can also damage hair-like sensors the fish use to find food, sense predators, and find their way in the current. » More …

Sex that moves mountains: Spawning fish can influence river profiles

Alex FremierIt turns out that sex can move mountains. A Washington State University researcher has found that the mating habits of salmon can alter the profile of stream beds, affecting the evolution of an entire watershed. His study is one of the first to quantitatively show that salmon can influence the shape of the land.

Alex Fremier, lead author of the study and associate professor in the WSU School of the Environment, said female salmon “fluff” soil and gravel on a river bottom as they prepare their nests, or redds. » More …