Erik McDonald, M.S.

Biological Sciences
Central Michigan University
Biological Sciences
Central Washington University

As an undergrad, I gained valuable fisheries experience with juvenile Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha). We were looking at the abundance, diet and habitat use of juvenile salmon in the Yakima, Cle Elem and Teanaway Rivers. This was achieved by doing snorkel surveys, measuring microhabitat characteristics and doing gastric lavages (stomach pumping). I also worked on a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tagging program run by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. We collected juvenile Chinook salmon with beach seines and purse seines in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. Juveniles were then tagged on shore and released a short time later. I went on to study the diet, growth and habitat use of larval fishes in the Detroit River (a connecting channel between Lake Huron and Lake Erie). This project included collaborators from both Central Michigan University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Current Research

I currently offer an undergraduate research opportunity for Environmental Science majors seeking to satisfy their capstone requirement.  This study examines the efficacy of a novel steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hatchery practice taking place in several Hood Canal streams.  Barry Berejikian (NOAA Manchester) is the principle investigator for this study.

What will we measure as indicators of impact on wild steelhead populations?  If this practice is successful, it will not reduce genetic diversity, it will increase number of adult steelhead, and it does not alter life history diversity.

Send me an email if you would like to complete a capstone experience in the spring.  The ideal student is one that is interested in fisheries-related careers; however, all interested parties are encouraged to contact me.

Scholarly Interests
  • Salmon Biology (see current research section)

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I teach a variety of classes including TESC 110 (General Biology), TESC 120 (Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, and Biodiversity), TESC 140 (Plant and Animal Anatomy and Physiology), TESC 234 (Biology, History, and Politics of Salmon in the PNW), TESC 240 (Human Biology) and a Core class about urbanization and aquatic ecosystems.

I also offer a castone opportunity (TESC 495 or TESC 499) as described in the "Current Research" section.



Julie Miller (UW Tacoma internship coordinator) and I are currently working with Camp Seymour and the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center to provide UW Tacoma students with great internship opportunities.