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  • Evaluating the impacts of pesticides on ESA-listed salmon and their habitats


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Environmental and Fisheries Sciences


Pesticide risks to salmon
Evaluating the impacts of pesticides on ESA-listed salmon and their habitats
Long-running science support for the agency (Office of Protected Resources, others) related to the use of modern pesticides throughout the United States as a limiting factor for endangered species conservation and recovery. This work is currently supporting several national ESA Biological Opinions, and is under review by the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS panel recommendations are expected in the summer of 2013, and these will guide additional research in FY14 and beyond.

Research Themes

Research Foci


Endangered Species Act
research to guide listed species recovery
impacts of toxins on fish and fish habitats
all salmonids
runoff from urban areas that is not absorbed into the ground but conveyed to waterways via overland flow and natural and man-made conduits and drains


Baldwin, D.H., Spromberg, J.A., Collier, T.K.,and Scholz, N.L. (2009). A fish of many scales: extrapolating sublethal pesticide exposures to the productivity of wild salmon populations. Ecological Applications, 19:2004-2015.
Fleishman, E., Brooks, M.L., Mitchelmore, C.L., Werner, I., Johnson, M.L., Schlenk, D., and Brown, L. (2012). A perspective on modern pesticides, pelagic fish declines, and unknown ecological resiliency in highly managed ecosystems. BioScience 62(4):428-434.
Labenia, J.S., Baldwin, D.H., French, B.L., Davis, J.W., and Scholz, N.L. (2007). Behavioral impairment and increased predation mortality in cutthroat trout exposed to carbaryl. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 329:1-11.
Laetz, C.A., Baldwin, D.H., Collier, T.K., Hebert, V., Stark, J., and Scholz, N.L. (2009). The synergistic toxicity of pesticide mixtures: Implications for risk assessment and the conservation of endangered Pacific salmon. Environmental Health Perspectives 117(3):348-353.
Macneale, K.H., Kiffney, P.M., and Scholz, N.L. (2010). Pesticides, aquatic food webs, and the conservation of Pacific salmonids. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 9:475-482.
Sandahl, J.F., Baldwin, D.H., Jenkins, J.J., and Scholz, N.L. (2005). Comparative thresholds for acetylcholinesterase inhibition and behavioral impairment in coho salmon exposed to chlorpyrifos. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24:136-145.
Scholz, N.L., Truelove, N., French, B., Berejikian, B., Quinn, T, Casillas, E., and Collier, T.K. (2000). Diazinon disrupts antipredator and homing behaviors in chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(9):1911-1918.
Stehr, C.M., Linbo, T.L., Incardona, J.P., and Scholz, N.L. (2006). The insecticide fipronil causes notochord degeneration and locomotor defects in zebrafish during early development. Toxicological Sciences, 92:270-278.
Tilton, F.A, Tilton, S.C., Beyer, R.P., Bammler, T.K., Beyer, R.P., Stapleton, P.L., Scholz, N.L., and Gallagher, E.P. (2011). Transcriptional impact of organophosphate and metal mixtures on olfaction: Copper dominates the chlorpyrifos-induced response in adult zebrafish. Aquatic Toxicology 102(3-4):205-215.
Weston, D.P., Asbell, A.M., Hecht, S.A., Scholz, N.L., and Lydy, M.J. (2011). Pyrethroid insecticides in urban salmon streams of the Pacific Northwest. Environmental Pollution, 159:3051-3056.


None assigned


Cathy Laetz
Internal Collaborator
David Baldwin
Internal Collaborator
Julann Spromberg
Internal Collaborator
Nat Scholz
Principal Investigator