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  • Neurobehavioral impacts of copper on juvenile salmon


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Environmental and Fisheries Sciences


Copper toxicity to salmon
Neurobehavioral impacts of copper on juvenile salmon
Research support for various organizations in NOAA (Northwest Regional Office (NWR), HQ Office of Protected Resources, National Ocean Service (NOS) Coastal Services Center) for copper related to the harmful impacts of urban stormwater runoff, pesticide use, antifoulant use, and mining (e.g., proposed hardrock mining in Alaska). This has been a core focus of Ecotoxicology research for years, and may redirect to address key and high-profile data gaps specific to salmon habitat threats in Alaska.

Research Themes

Habitats to support sustainable fisheries and recovered populations
Healthy oceans, coastal waters, and riverine habitats provide the foundation for aquatic resources used by a diversity of species and society. Protecting marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems that support these species relies on science to link habitat condition/processes and the biological effects of restoration actions. The NWFSC provides the habitat science behind many management actions taken by NOAA Fisheries and other natural resource agencies to protect and recover aquatic ecosystems and living marine resources. The NWFSC also maintains a longstanding focus on toxic chemical contaminants, as a foundation for regional and national research on pollution threats to fisheries and protected resources.

Research Foci

Characterize the interaction of human use and habitat distribution, quantity and quality
The ability to define the state of an ecosystem requires insight into the natural processes within habitats, and how anthropogenic interactions with these processes can alter ecosystems and marine organisms. A wide diversity of human activities -- land use and water withdrawals, industrialization and dredging, fishing practices and climate change (e.g., ocean acidification) -- directly and indirectly impact critical freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats. To best manage west coast marine, estuarine and freshwater habitats in a sustainable fashion, it is necessary to map the spatial and temporal footprint of human impacts and review their potential biological impact on each species of interest. Measurement parameters will be developed to determine the full range of human impacts using spatial data and improved habitat classification.


impacts of toxins on fish and fish habitats
all salmonids


Baldwin, D.H. and Scholz, N.L. (2005). The electro-olfactogram: an in vivo measure of peripheral olfactory function and sublethal neurotoxicity in fish. In: Techniques in Aquatic Toxicology, Volume 2. GK Ostrander (ed.), CRC Press, Inc. Boca Raton, FL. pp. 257-276.
Baldwin, D.H., Sandahl, J.F., Labenia, J.S., and Scholz, N.L. (2003). Sublethal effects of copper on coho salmon: impacts on non-overlapping receptor populations in the peripheral olfactory nervous system. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 22:2266-2274.
Linbo, T.L., Stehr, C.M., Incardona, J.P., and Scholz, N.L. (2006). Dissolved copper triggers cell death in the peripheral mechanosensory system of larval fish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 25:597-603.
McIntyre, J.K., Baldwin, D.H., Beauchamp, D.A., and Scholz, N.L. (2012). Low-level copper exposures increase the visibility and vulnerability of juvenile coho salmon to cutthroat trout predators. Ecological Applications, 22:1460-1471.
McIntyre, J.K., Baldwin, D.H., Meador, J.P., and Scholz, N.L. (2008). Chemosensory deprivation in juvenile coho salmon exposed to dissolved copper under varying water chemistry conditions. Environmental Science and Technology, 42:1352-1358.
Sandahl, J.F., Baldwin, D.H., Jenkins, J.J., and Scholz, N.L. (2004). Odor-evoked field potentials as indicators of sublethal neurotoxicity in juvenile coho salmon exposed to copper, chlorpyrifos, or esfenvalerate. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 61:404-413.
Sandahl, J.F., Baldwin, D.H., Jenkins, J.J., and Scholz, N.L. (2007). A sensory system at the interface between urban stormwater runoff and salmon survival. Environmental Science and Technology, 41:2998-3004.


None assigned


David Baldwin
Internal Point of Contact
Jana Labenia
Jenifer McIntyre
Nat Scholz
Principal Investigator