CRITFC Staff: Maureen Hess
My research background involves using molecular genetics to address a wide-range of conservation and ecological issues related to birds, Pacific salmon, and rockfishes. My initial research experience involved using genetic tools to study cancer, then moved from the lab to the field, where I participated in research on the ecology of sockeye salmon in Alaska. After a short stint in New Zealand studying birds and fur seals, I returned to studying salmon at NOAA fisheries in Seattle, WA and then decided to pursue my MS at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington. I used a multidisciplinary approach to study larval dispersal patterns of brown rockfish in the Puget Sound by combining oceanographic models with parental identification from microsatellite markers and induced strontium marking of otoliths. At CRITFC, I work on projects where I use genetic parentage analysis to reconstruct family relationships. We are using this information to assess relative reproductive success (RRS) of natural-origin and hatchery-origin fish in river systems that are supplemented by hatcheries or where fish are reintroduced to areas that were once extirpated. We also use parentage analysis as a tool for mass marking of steelhead and Chinook salmon in the Snake River basin, which can be used for monitoring harvest of hatchery stocks, addressing issues such as the origin of hatchery strays and steelhead kelts, and effectiveness of hatchery integration programs. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family/friends, traveling, cooking, cycling, hiking, kayaking, and gardening.