Lamprey Brain Trust

Photo: Jeremy Monroe, Freshwaters Illustrated

By Lee Anna Sherman

“The situation for Pacific lamprey is bad and getting worse,” says OSU fisheries biologist David Noakes, director of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in Alsea. “We have enormous gaps in our knowledge of even the most basic aspects of life history, ecology and behavior of our native lamprey.”

To jumpstart the filling of those gaps, experts from around the Pacific Northwest and Canada gathered at the center in October for a Lamprey Research Workshop. Resolving uncertainties about lamprey, focusing research questions and raising awareness of conservation and restoration needs were the key goals for the 50 attendees. The scientists shared emerging findings in ocean ecology, molecular genetics and barriers to passage, as well as cultural implications for Northwest tribes, which are funding much of the Pacific lamprey research at Oregon State and elsewhere.

“We need to share the concerns of tribal peoples for the Pacific lamprey,” emphasizes Noakes.

For more on lamprey research, see Survivors from the Depths of Time.