May 8, 2018

Our paper on social foraging behaviour in juvenile coho salmon was just published after one of the longest efforts I've put in to date, but oh was it worth it. Not necessarily because it's the greatest paper I've written and will change the world, but because it did change one person's world. The first author was an undergrad one her first science project when she took on these experiments. She just completed the first field s...

July 21, 2016

Researchers at the Salmon Coast Field Station, lead by Alexandra Morton, have been monitoring juvenile salmon for sea lice since 2001.  I've been fortunate to be a part of this extraordinary team since 2006 when I first visited the Broughton Archipelago as an undergrad student. Last year, we witnessed the resurgence of sea lice in the region, after about 10 years of successful management and low louse numbers on farmed an...

March 8, 2016

Some ecologists, and indeed scientists, evaluate models models based on their ability to predict data. I will not dispute that a strong connection to data is important for certain applications, but I think there is much we can learn from exploring the behaviour of models even in the absence of data.


Case in point: our recent publication in Theoretical Ecology (yup, I'm a theoretician now) investigating the dynamics of coupled...

December 14, 2015

The ways that parasites affect host ecological interactions can influence the net impact of parasties on host survival. This is especially true for predation because predators almost always kill their prey.  If parasites make you more vulnerable to predators, that might be pretty important relative to other costs of parasitism! Plenty of theoretical studies have shown that host-parasite dynamics are affected by whether parasit...

August 10, 2015


Last winter, I was analyzing my experiments on parasite-mediated predation in juvenile Pacific salmon and was revisiting a model that we had published the previous year in Proceedings B. I hadn't looked at this model since...well...since it was published, so I had a chance to go through all the algebra with fresh eyes. To my horror, I discovered that there was an error in how we had specified the functional response term for...

July 23, 2015

Last winter, NSERC had a competition they called "Science, Action!" aimed at getting researchers to talk about their work publicly.  The task was to create a one minute video describing your research.  Well, I didn't make the deadline, but it go me thinking about how I can communicate my research in a way that will engage the public.  After several months of thinking, and collaborating with one very talented film maker, we hav...

June 11, 2015

Cermaq Canada posted a story on May 12, 2015 titled "Healthy farmed salmon pose no real risk to passing wild salmon, says top BC fish scientist". They link to a document by an expert in fish pathology, who builds a case for why farmed salmon are not a threat to wild salmon in BC. A group of researchers from several universities have felt the need to respond to that document as many of the claims are based on an incomplete revi...

February 23, 2015

Scientists in BC have been studying the effects of sea lice on wild salmon for a long time. So what have we learned? In a recent article in International Innovation, we talk about how we have progressed in the past decade and what it means for wild salmon.  You can access a pdf of the article here.




January 20, 2014

There has been a lot of interest in the effect of sea louse​​ parasites on wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago. Counts of salmon returning to spawn have suggested that outbreaks of sea lice on farmed and wild salmon have resulted in fewer pink salmon returning to the Broughton. But what about chum salmon?

Pink and chum migrate past farms together each spring on their way to the open Pacific, and tend to have similar levels...

March 16, 2012





K. Brooks and S. Jones. Perspectives on pink salmon and sea lice: scientific evidence fails to support the extinction hypothesis. Reviews in Fisheries Science, 16(4):403–412, 2008.


B. M. Connors, M. Krkosek, J. Ford, and L. M. Dill. Coho salmon productiv- ity in relation to salmon lice from infected prey and salmon farms. Journal of Ap- plied Ecology, 47(6):1372–1377, 2010. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01889.x. U...

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