At the Alaska Salmon Program, we believe that experiential learning is the key to engaging and motivating the next generation of aquatic scientists. Our two courses are field based. Students live and work in the environment they are studying, getting hands-on field research experience or mock-managing the world’s largest and most sustainable wild salmon fishery. The experience is frequently life changing for our students, inspiring a desire to continue in the fields of aquatic science and fishery management.

Contact Us

FISH 497: Aquatic Ecological Research in Alaska (AERA)

Offered SUMMER quarter in even years, typically July 15-Sept 1

This course is open to upper division UW undergraduate students in the natural sciences who demonstrate an interest in aquatic ecology.  Students will live and work at the Alaska Salmon Program field stations in Bristol Bay, AK for 4-6 weeks, depending on the year and duration of the course.  The course is co-taught by Tom Quinn, Daniel Schindler, and Ray Hilborn.

The AERA class is an intensive, full-time research training experience where a team of students works on focused research problems guided by a group of faculty, staff, postdoctoral, and graduate student mentors. Course topics include behavioral ecology of salmonids, limnology, and population dynamics. Workload expectations vary from year to year, but typically students are expected to produce 3 papers (1 per course topic).  Students also choose specific research questions for their own exploration. 


FISH 497: Management of Pacific Salmon

Offered SUMMER quarter in odd years, typically June 18-July 10

This course is appropriate for upper division undergraduates with strong quantitative and analytical skills, as well as graduate students interested in the management of pacific salmon fisheries. Students will live and work at the Alaska Salmon Program field station on Lake Aleknagik, AK.  The course is co-taught by Ray Hilborn  (UW) and Milo Adkison (Univ. of Alaska) and is open to both UW and UA students.

Students taking the fast paced and intensive Management of Pacific Salmon course will essentially “mock manage” the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery in real time.  Using the same data managers receive on a daily basis (test fishery counts and genetic stock allocation, daily catch and escapement by river and fishery district), students will run models, perform analyses, and make mock decisions about when to open and close the fishery.  Additionally, guest lecturers, including local management biologists, members of the salmon the processing industry, commercial and subsistence fishermen, will provide a broader context of the importance of salmon to the Bristol Bay region of Alaska.