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Disease in Central Valley Salmon: Status and Lessons from Other Systems

  • Author(s): Lehman, Brendan M.
  • Johnson, Rachel C.
  • Adkison, Mark
  • Burgess, Oliver T.
  • Connon, Richard E.
  • Fangue, Nann A.
  • Foott, J. Scott
  • Hallett, Sascha L.
  • Martinez–López, Beatriz
  • Miller, Kristina M.
  • Purcell, Maureen K.
  • Som, Nicholas A.
  • Valdes–Donoso, Pablo
  • Collins, Alison L.
  • et al.
Abstract

Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are increasingly vulnerable to anthropogenic activities and climate change, especially at their most southern species range in California’s Central Valley. There is considerable interest in understanding stressors that contribute to population decline and in identifying management actions that reduce the impacts of those stressors. Along the west coast of North America, disease has been linked to declining numbers of salmonids and identified as a key stressor resulting in mortality. In the Central Valley, targeted studies have revealed extremely high prevalence of infectious agents and disease. However, there has been insufficient monitoring to understand the effect that disease may have on salmon populations. In order to inform future research, monitoring, and management efforts, a two-day workshop on salmon disease was held at UC Davis on March 14-15, 2018. This paper summarizes the science presented at this workshop, including the current state of knowledge of salmonid disease in the Central Valley and current and emerging tools to better understand its impacts on salmon. We highlight case studies from other systems where successful monitoring programs have been implemented. First, in the Klamath River where the integration of several data collection and modeling approaches led to the development of successful management actions, and second in British Columbia where investment in researching novel technologies led to breakthroughs in the understanding of salmon disease dynamics. Finally, we identify key information and knowledge gaps necessary to guide research and management of disease in Central Valley salmon populations.

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