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Erik McDonald, M.S.

Associate Teaching Professor
Phone Number
Campus Mailbox



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 two capstone opportunities for Environmental Science and Environmental Sustainability majors. The first opportunity examines the efficacy of a novel steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hatchery practice taking place in several Hood Canal streams.

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.

The second project connects UWT capstone students with local middle school students and examines coho pre-spawn mortality in Swan Creek (

Scholarly Interests

  • Salmon Biology (see current research section)


I teach a variety of classes including TBIOL 110 (General Biology), TBIOL 120 (Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, and Biodiversity), TBIOL 140 (Plant and Animal Anatomy and Physiology), TBIOL 234 (Biology, History, and Politics of Salmon in the PNW), TBIOL 240 (Human Biology) and an online course (TESC 102) about urbanization and aquatic ecosystems.

I also offer two capstone opportunities (TESC 499) as described in the "Current Research" section.


I am a board member on the Puyallup River Watershed Council.