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Items: Jerry Taylor Retires After 37 Years of Federal Service

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jerry taylor

Sidney (Jerry) Taylor retired from Federal service on 31 May 2008 after 37 years as a research fishery biologist at ABL.

Jerry, born and raised in Juneau, began his fisheries career working on sockeye salmon at Brooks Lake in Bristol Bay. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Alaska and became a critically important part of the Marine Salmon Interactions Program at ABL.

For most of his career Jerry has been the authority on all aspects of ABL’s Auke Creek Station. The research station, located at the mouth of Auke Creek, maintains and operates a two-way fish counting weir and a small experimental hatchery on an interagency cooperative basis with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Much of the cooperative research at Auke Creek is centered on maintaining accurate daily counts of all upstream migrating adult and downstream migrating juvenile salmonids as they pass through the weir.

One of Jerry’s hallmark achievements has been maintaining this long-term (40+ years) series of data for six species of anadromous fishes. This involved a vigilant 240-day annual commitment on a 24/7 basis by Jerry to make sure Auke Creek weir was running effectively with minimal impediments to migrating fishes. Fish counting weirs are notoriously difficult during freshets and flash flood conditions. This important legacy data set on migrating salmonids from Auke Creek is unparalleled around the Pacific Rim and provides a unique record of both freshwater and marine survival values for these fishes over more than four decades. Thanks in part to Jerry’s dedication, these data have also provided research opportunities for more than 30 university graduate students and have led to numerous publications in peer reviewed journals

One of Jerry’s most recent contributions to science was a publication in the journal Global Change Biology on how climate warming is causing phenological shifts in pink salmon behavior. The paper illustrates the importance of long-term data series, like those from Auke Creek, for evaluating how climatic changes to the environment can impact population dynamics and behavior of fishes and other biota.

We wish Jerry the best in retirement and hope to continue maintaining his legacy and valuable long-term data series.

By Bill Heard


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