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Guest Speaker Tells of How 600,000 lbs of Dead Fish Affected Alaska's Trees


Jim Helfield will present the results of a recently completed 20-year fertilization experiment, in which sockeye salmon carcasses were systematically deposited on one bank of Hansen Creek in southwestern Alaska from 1996 to 2016. In 2016, they measured the leaf nitrogen content and annual growth rates of white spruce trees on both creek banks, finding greater concentrations of marine-derived nitrogen and increased growth rates on the fertilized bank. These results indicate that salmon carcasses can have a measurable effect on riparian trees against the background of other factors affecting forest growth. Jim Helfield is an Associate Professor at WWU in the Department of Environmental Sciences, where he teaches courses on stream ecology, ecological restoration, and salmon habitat and ecology. For more information go to www.wnpskoma/meetings or contact Jazmen at