Abstract: Imagine if your first date involved swimming 100s of kms, with no breaks for food. En route, you have to maneuver around fishing hooks and nets but are unable to escape the industrial, agricultural and urban run-off. The water is uncomfortably warm at times and, oh, there are seals and grizzly bears trying to eat you. I’m stressed thinking about this, are you?! This is what first dates are like for Pacific salmon migrating from the ocean to the rivers where they were born. When they meet their date, it’s love at first sight, and they spawn. The first date is also the last; salmon die after they spawn. Everything offspring need to survive is in a mother’s egg. But what if the stressful first-date journey changed what went into the eggs? Will offspring be equipped to survive? Natalie will talk about the intergenerational effects of stress in Pacific salmon and the role that egg hormones play in shaping offspring.
Natalie Sopinka first got hooked on fish during her undergraduate and MSc degrees at McMaster University, Canada. She studied the behaviour of invasive round goby and the sperm quality of plainfin midshipman living in polluted bodies of water. Natalie then headed west to the University of British Columbia where she earned her PhD studying what happens to sockeye salmon babies when their mom is stressed out. While she embarks on new fishy adventures, you can find her on Twitter at @phishdoc and her poems at www.phishdoc.com