Center for Reproductive Biology

Participating Faculty

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Name: 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: 206-860-3489
Mailing Address: Northwest Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
2725 Montlake Blvd. East
Seattle, WA 98112


Research Interests

Salmon Homing & Imprinting

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

Debose, J. L., G. A. Nevitt, et al. (2010). "Rapid communication: experimental evidence that juvenile pelagic jacks (Carangidae) respond behaviorally to DMSP." Journal of chemical ecology 36(3): 326-328.

Dittman A. (2005) "Chemical cues for sea lamprey migration." Nat Chem Biol.  1(6):316-7.

Hendry, A.P., Dittman, A.H. and R.W. Hardy. (2000) "Proximate composition, reproductive development, and a test for trade-offs in captive sockeye salmon." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 129:1082-1095.

Kumar, R.S., Ijiri, S., Kight, K., Swanson, P., Dittman, A.H., Alok, D., Zohar, Y. and J.M. Trant. (2000) "Cloning and functional expression of a thyrotropin receptor from the gonads of a vertebrate (bony fish): potential thyroid-independent role for thyrotropin in reproduction." Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 167:1-9.

Speca, D. J., Lin, D. M., Sorensen, P. W., Isacoff, E. I., Ngai, J. and A. H. Dittman. (1999) "Functional  identification of a goldfish odorant receptor." Neuron 23:487-498.

Nevitt, G. A, and A. H. Dittman (1998) "A new model for olfactory imprinting in salmon." Integrative Biology. 1:215-223.

Dittman, A. H., Quinn, T. P. and E. C. Volk (1998) "Is the distribution, growth and survival of juvenile salmonids sex-biased? Negative results for coho salmon in an experimental stream channel." Journal of Fish Biology. 53:1360-1364.

Dittman, A. H., Brown, G. S. and C. J. Foote. (1998) "The role of chemoreception in salmon-egg predation by coastrange (Cottus aleuticus) and slimy (C. cognatus) sculpins in Iliamna Lake, Alaska." Canadian Journal of Zoology. 76:406-413


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