Participating Faculty

Andrew Dittman

Andrew Dittman

Department:Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Credentials:1994 - Ph.D., University of Washington - School of Fisheries & the Department of Pharmacology
Phone:206-860-3392
Fax:206-860-3467
Mailing Address:Northwest Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
2725 Montlake Blvd. East
Seattle, WA 98112
E-mail:andy.dittman@noaa.gov
Website:Click here


Research Interests

Fish Reproduction, Behavior and Sensory Physiology

Research Summary

Pacific salmon are well known for their ability to learn (or imprint) to odors associated with their natal stream as juveniles and then later use these retained odor memories to guide the final phases of their home-stream migration. The imprinting process is critical for successful completion of the spawning migration and salmon that do not experience their natal water during appropriate juvenile stages are more likely to stray to non-natal sites. Reintroduction of captively-reared fish into the wild at inappropriate developmental periods or insufficient periods of exposure to appropriate olfactory cues may result in elevated levels of straying. To determine the critical period(s) for imprinting, juvenile salmon are being exposed to known odorants at key developmental stages and are subsequently tested for development of long-term memories of these odorants using molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioral assays. Results from these studies will help develop captive broodstock reintroduction and hatchery release strategies that will minimize straying.

Research Publications

Havey, M.A., Dittman, A.H., Quinn, T.P., Lema, S.C., and D. May. 2017. Experimental evidence for olfactory imprinting by Sockeye Salmon at embryonic and smolt stages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 146:74-83.

Bond, M.H., Westley, P.A.H., Dittman, A.H., Holecek, D., Marsh, T., and T.P. Quinn. 2017. Combined effects of barge transportation, river environment, and rearing location on straying and migration of adult Snake River Fall-run Chinook Salmon. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 146:60-73.

Cram, J.M., Torgersen, C.E., Klett, R.S., Pess, G.R., May, D., Pearsons, T.N., and A.H. Dittman. 2017. Spatial variability of Chinook Salmon spawning distribution and habitat preferences. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 146:206-221.

Bett, N.N., Hinch, S.G., Yun, S.S., and A.H. Dittman. 2016. Evidence of olfactory imprinting at an early life stage in Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Scientific Reports. 6:36393.

Lema, S.C., Chow, M.I. Resner, E.J., Westman, A.A., May, D., Dittman, A.H., and K.M. Hardy. 2016. Endocrine and metabolic impacts of warming aquatic habitats: differential responses between recently-isolated populations of a eurythermal desert pupfish. Conservation Physiology. 4:1-17.

Dittman, A.H., Pearsons, T.P., May, D. Couture, R.M., and D.L.G. Noakes. 2015. Imprinting of hatchery-reared salmon to targeted spawning locations: A new embryonic imprinting paradigm for hatchery programs. Fisheries. 40:114-123.

Westley, P.A.H., Dittman, A.H., Ward, E.J., and T.P. Quinn.  2015.  Signals of climate, conspecific density, and watershed features in patterns of homing and dispersal by Pacific salmon. Ecology 96: 2823–2833.

Washington State University