Dr. Brett van Poorten

Sr. Aquatic Scientist (BC Ministry of Environment); Honorary professor (UBC Institute for the oceans and fisheries)


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My main interest involves understanding how society interacts with fish. These interactions are often negative for fish (fish entrainment, fish harvest, stocking) but can also be positive, both for fish and ecosystems (nutrient restoration, stocking) and society (recreational fishing). Often times, the results of these interactions are highly uncertain and complex. I use a combination of simulation models of social-ecological systems and statistical time-series models to estimate the strength of these interactions and make predictions on how populations will respond to mitigation. The overall goal is to better understand how to affect positive change and balance trade-offs among species, governments and values. 

To better understand the work that I have been involved in, feel free to explore this site, especially our research page and a list of publications that have come out of our work. If you would like to become involved in our work, please contact me


Current Students

Patricia Woodruff (PhD: co-supervised with Villy Christensen)
Project: Evaluating bottom-up and top-down controls in large lake ecosystems to improve management outcomes

Rachel Chudnow (PhD: co-supervised with Murdoch McAllister)
Project: Evaluating harvest potential for a fluvial bull trout population

Rachel Chudnow


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Rachel’s PhD research focuses on the meta-population structure and population dynamics of fluvial bull trout within the Upper Fraser Watershed (UFW), British Columbia. Bull trout, a species endemic to the northwest United States and western Canada, have designated conservation status in both nations. This is the result of the species’ expiration from portions of its historic range and observed reductions in population size and population persistence across the species’ range.

Rachel’s thesis research is being conducted in close collaboration with the British Columbia Provincial Government. The thesis first explores the compensation potential for bull trout as a species, and then uses a radio-telemetry study to explore bull trout migration patterns within the UFW.  This information is incorporated into a computer model of the UFW meta-population, using risk analysis to access the potential impacts of various management actions (specifically, to explore if harvest of bull trout within the UFW could be biologically sustainable).

The goal of this research is to expand our understanding biological limits to sustainable harvest based on meta-population structure, seasonal movements and juvenile compensatory survival. The outcomes of Rachel's thesis research will be used to help inform provincial managers in their decision making for the management of this species, both within the UFW and beyond. 

Personal Bio

Prior to starting her PhD at UBC's IOF, Rachel completed her MSc. with Dr. Villy Christensen at UBC as part of Canada's CFRN network (http://www.cfrn-rcrp.ca/CFRN-RCRP). In this research, she investigated lessons learned from historic management and policy used in commercial crustacean fisheries within Canada and internationally. This thesis also explored the implications of the Larocque Decision on Canadian fisheries, with particular attention on the BC Dungeness crab fishery in Area A.

Prior to her MSc. research, Rachel completed her BSc. Honours at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she carried out honours research with Dr. Boris Worm exploring the potential causes of jellyfish biomass increases in the world's oceans. Following her undergrad, Rachel worked on juvenile lobster settlement and lobster maturity with both Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Fishermen Scientists Research Society in Bedford, NS.

Past Students

Boyd Barrett (MRM: co-supervised with Wolfgang Haider and Andrew Cooper)
Project: Fostering sustainable recreational fisheries through informed management decisions: a revamped approach to collecting data from white sturgeon anglers

Scott Brydle (MSc: co-supervised with Villy Christensen)
Project: Are Kawkawa Lake kokanee in decline, and if so, what do we do?

Tjasa Demsar (MRM: co-supervised with Wolfgang Haider, Sean Cox and Len Hunt)
Project: Evaluating preferences of lapsed and avid anglers: are we providing an inviting fishery?

Eric Parkinson

Biographical Summary

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Eric Parkinson is an adjunct professor with the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and a consultant specializing in systems analysis of freshwater ecosystems.  He holds BSc (Biology 1973) and MSc (Zoology 1980) degrees from UBC and worked with the BC government Fisheries Research Section at UBC for 35 years.  Most of Eric’s current work is focused on modeling and data analysis designed to quantify Performance Measures (PMs) associated with fisheries management issues in hydro power reservoirs.  He is also assisting in a variety of BC Ministry of Environment (BCMOE) projects associated with management of rainbow trout fisheries in small lakes and kokanee/piscivore systems in large lakes and reservoirs.  

Recent examples of his work include: 1) The development of methods to identify Temperature Sensitive streams at the landscape level by modeling stream temperatures and fish distributions using a GIS framework,  2) Modeling the impact of stocking practices and lake attributes on the distribution angling activity among lakes in the BC interior.  3) Assessing the impact of spawning channel kokanee production and the recruitment of entrained kokanee from upstream reservoirs on wild kokanee and bull trout stocks in the Arrow Lakes. 4) Performing analysis and modeling requested by the Entrainment Technical Committees associated with 10 BC Hydro generation facilities.  

Eric’s work with BCMOE involved collaboration with fisheries researchers and technical advice for Regional staff of BCMOE.  Research collaborators included faculty from UBC, University of Calgary and Simon Fraser University.  Over the last 15 years, Eric has participated in advisory committees for 19 PhD and MSc students and the research activities of 9 additional students and post doctoral fellows.   In most of these, this involvement has included in all phases of the research: project proposal, assisting in data collection and analysis, and reviewing thesis drafts.   Eric has been an active participant in seminar programs and class activities at UBC including 1-2 presentations per year.


Fisheries Consultant and Adjunct Professor, 
UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
2202 Main Mall, UBC,
Vancouver BC
V6T 1Z4
Cell: 604-831-4999


B.Sc. UBC Biology 1973; M.Sc. UBC Zoology 1980

My Current Work is mostly focused on modeling and data analysis designed to quantify Performance Measures associated with fisheries management issues, mainly in hydro power reservoirs.     I am also completing a variety of BCMOE projects while continuing to work on projects associated with management of rainbow trout fisheries in small lakes and kokanee/piscivore systems in large lakes and reservoirs.
My previous role within the BC Ministry of Environment (BCMOE) was to lead research initiatives that were relevant to high-priority environmental management issues. I worked with teams of 2-8 people made up of professors, graduate students and resource managers from government and industry.  My responsibilities within the team included: writing grant proposals, reporting to granting agencies, developing methods for and performing data analysis, presenting results to research and resource management professionals, revising publication drafts by team members and managing budgets. In the 10 years prior to retirement, I supervised a research budget that averaged over $150,000/yr (excluding my salary and admin support).   

My Role at UBC includes: Sitting on graduate student advisory committees, Supervision of monetary support from MOE to graduate student projects, Access to large data sets maintained by BCMOE and Presentation of research finding to student audiences.  Over the last 15 years I have participated in advisory committees for 19 PhD and MSc students from UBC and SFU.  In most of these, I have been involved in all phases of the research: project proposal, assisting in data collection and analysis, reviewing thesis drafts.  Funding commitments, supervised by me, from BCMOE to graduate student projects in 2008 total $68,000.  An example of access to BCMOE data sets is my collaborative work with Dr. R.D. Moore (UBC Geography) on the prediction of stream temperatures in BC.  Recent lectures are: The Biology and Management of Rainbow Trout Sportfisheries in small BC Lakes, (CONS 486, Fish Conservation and Management), Defining Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds under the BC Forest and Range Practices Act (FRST 386 Aquatic Ecosystems and Fish in Forested Watersheds).

Projects in which I am a Principle Investigator:

Identifying temperature sensitive streams from observed clines in fish community structure and physical models of stream temperature (2006-present)

Evaluating the consequences of alternative fish entrainment mitigation strategies at existing and proposed hydro electric reservoirs (2009-present).

Quantifying the relationships between density, growth, survival, predators and food supply for rainbow trout in small lakes (1998-present).

Evaluating alternative management policies on small lakes using simulation modelling (2001-present).

Development of a strategy for classifying and preserving ecotype variation in rainbow trout (1997-2009).

Identifying watersheds that have both high fisheries value and high sensitivity to forest harvesting using GIS modeling at a provincial scale (2003-2010).

Quantifying aquatic biodiversity values using GIS modeling at a Provincial scale (2002-2011).

Quantifying habitat requirements of endangered salmonids with respect to forest harvesting activities (2007-2008)


Consultants Reports:

Parkinson, E. and B.M. Connors 2014.  Puntledge River Fish Entrainment Strategy Action Planning Support.  Final Report.  Prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd. for BC Hydro.  Vancouver, British Columbia.  41 pp + 1 appendix.'

Dawson, J and EA Parkinson. 2012. MCA/REV FESMON#2 Revelstoke Reservoir Kokanee Behavior and Entrainment Rate Assessment Project Final Report:  11-87057-002. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

John Hart Fish Entrainment Strategy Technical Committee (EA Parkinson). 2012.  John Hart Fish Entrainment Strategy Action Plan. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

ESSA Technologies Ltd. (EA Parkinson) 2012. Using Single Species Population Models Of Bull Trout, Kokanee And Arctic Grayling To Evaluate Site C Passage Alternatives. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

Parkinson EA and A Gelchu. 2012. Downton Reservoir-Bridge River System Fish Entrainment Risk Screening. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

Parkinson EA and A Gelchu. 2012. Seton Reservoir Fish Entrainment Risk Screening. Report prepared for BC Hydro. 
Hugh L. Keenleyside Fish Entrainment Strategy Technical Committee (EA Parkinson) 2011. Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam Fish Entrainment Strategy Action Plan. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

Parkinson, EA.  2011. The Arrow, Revelstoke, Mica Systems Model: User Manual and Consequence Analysis.  Report prepared for BC Hydro.

Aberfeldie Fish Entrainment Strategy Technical Committee. (EA Parkinson) 2010.  Aberfeldie Fish Entrainment Strategy Action Plan. Report prepared for BC Hydro.

MCA-REV Fish Entrainment Strategy Technical Committee (EA Parkinson). 2009.  Mica – Revelstoke Fish Entrainment Strategy Action Plan.  Report prepared for BC Hydro.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

Parkinson, E. A., Lea, E. V., Nelitz, M. A., Knudson, J. M., & Moore, R. D. (2015). Identifying Temperature Thresholds Associated With Fish Community Changes In British Columbia, Canada, To Support Identification Of Temperature Sensitive Streams. River Research and Applications.

Moore, R. D., Nelitz, M., & Parkinson, E. (2013). Empirical modelling of maximum weekly average stream temperature in British Columbia, Canada, to support assessment of fish habitat suitability. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 38(2), 135-147.

Paul J. Askey , Eric A. Parkinson & John R. Post (2013) Linking fish and angler dynamics to assess stocking strategies for hatchery-dependent, open-access recreational fisheries. N. Am. J.Fish. Mgmt. 33:557-568.

Post, J R; Parkinson, E A. 2012.  Temporal and spatial patterns of angler effort across lake districts and policy options to sustain recreational fisheries.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 69: 321-329.

Tamkee, P; Parkinson, E; Taylor, E B.  2010. The influence of Wisconsinan glaciation and contemporary stream hydrology on microsatellite DNA variation in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 67: 919-935.

Post, JR., L. Persson, L, Parkinson, EA, van Kooten, T. 2008. Angler Numerical Response Across Landscapes and the Collapse of Freshwater Fisheries.  Ecol. Appl. 18:1038-1049.

Keeley ER, Parkinson EA, Taylor EB. 2007. The origins of ecotypic variation of rainbow trout: a test of environmental vs. genetically based differences in morphology.  J. Evol. Biol. 20:725-736.

Askey PJ, Post JR, Parkinson EA. 2007.  Estimation of gillnet efficiency and selectivity across multiple sampling units: A hierarchical Bayesian analysis using mark-recapture data. Fish. Res. 83:162-174.

Biro PA, Abrahams, MV, Post JR and Parkinson EA. 2006. Behavioural trade-offs between growth and mortality explain evolution of submaximal growth rates.  J. Anim. Ecol. 75: 1165–1171.

Askey PJ, Richards,SA, Post JR, Parkinson EA. 2006. Linking Angling Catch Rates and Fish Learning under Catch-and-Release Regulations.  N. Am. J. Fish. Mgmt. 26:1020–1029.

Keeley, ER, Parkinson, EA, Taylor, EB. 2005. Ecotypic differentiation of native rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations from British Columbia.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62: 1523-1539.

Parkinson, EA, Post, JR, Cox, SP.   2004. Linking the dynamics of harvest effort to recruitment dynamics in a multistock, spatially structured fishery. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 1658-1670.

Biro, PA,  Morton, AE, Post, JR, Parkinson, EA, 2004. Over-winter lipid depletion and mortality of age-0 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 1513-1519.

Biro PA, Abrahams, MV, Post JR and Parkinson EA. 2004. Predators select against high growth rates and risk-taking behaviour in domestic trout populations.  Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 271:2233-2237.

Biro PA, Post JR and Parkinson EA. 2003. From individuals to populations: prey fish risk-taking ediates mortality in whole-system experiments. Ecology 84: 2419–2431.

Biro PA, Post JR and Parkinson EA. 2003. Population consequences of a predator-induced habitat shift by trout in whole-lake experiments. Ecology 84: 691–700

Biro PA, Post JR and Parkinson EA. 2003. Density-dependent mortality is mediated by foraging activity for prey fish in whole-lake experiments. J. of Anim. Ecol. 72: 546–555

Post, JR, Sullivan, M, Cox, S, Lester, NP, Walters, CJ, Parkinson, EA, Paul, AJ, Lackson, L, Shuter, BJ. 2002 Canada's Recreational Fisheries: The Invisible Collapse? Fisheries 27:6-19.

Post, JR, Parkinson, EA. 2001. Energy allocation strategy in young fish: allometry and survival. Ecology 82: 1040-1051

Rosenfeld, J, Porter, M, Pearson, M, Wicks, B, Dishoeck, Pvan, Patton, T, Parkinson, E, Haas, G, McPhail, D. 2001. The influence of temperature and habitat on the distribution ofchiselmouth, Acrocheilus alutaceus, in British Columbia. Environmental Biology of Fishes [Environ. Biol. Fish.]. 62: 401-413.

Mccusker, RM, Parkinson, EA, Taylor, EB. 2000. Mitochondrial DNA variation in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) across its native range: testing biogeographical hypotheses and their relevance to conservation. Molecular Ecology [Mol. Ecol.] 9:2089-2108.

Porter, MS, Rosenfeld, J, Parkinson, EA. 2000. Predictive Models of Fish Species Distribution in the Blackwater , British Columbia. N. Am. J. Fish. Manage. 20:349-359.

Rosenfeld, J, Porter, M, Parkinson, E. 2000. Habitat factors affecting the abundance and distribution of juvenile cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 57, no. 4: 766-774.

Post, JR, Parkinson, EA, Johnston, NT. 1999. Density-dependent processes in structured fish populations: Interaction strengths in whole-lake experiments.  Ecol. Monogr. 69: 155-175.

Landry, F, Post, JR, Parkinson, EA. 1999.  Spatial ontogeny of lentic age-0 rainbow trout, Onchorynchus mykiss: whole-lake manipulations of population size structure. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56: 1916-1928.

Post, JR, Parkinson, EA, Johnston, NT. 1998. Spatial and Temporal Variation in Risk to Piscivory of Age-0 Rainbow Trout: Patterns and Population Level Consequences. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 127: 932-942.

Benoit, HP, Post, JR, Parkinson, EA, Johnston, NT. 1998.  Colonization by lentic macroinvertebrates: Evaluating colonization processes using artificial substrates and appraising applicability of the technique. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.  55: 2425-2435. 
Technical Reports:

Reese-Hansen, L., & Parkinson, E. A. 2006. Evaluating and designating Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds: An overview of BC’s new FSW procedure. Victoria, BC: BC Ministry of Environment.

Parkinson, EA, Keeley, ER, Taylor, EB, Pollard, S, Tautz, AF. 2005.  A population database for defining conservation units in steelhead trout.  BC Fish. Mgmt Rept. 119:72p.

Porter, M., G. Haas and E. Parkinson.  2000.  Sensitivity of British Columbia’s Freshwater Fish to Timber Harvest: Using Species Traits as Predictors of Species at Risk.  BC Fish. Mgmt Rept. 114:39p.

Mccusker, RM, Parkinson, EA, Taylor, EB..  2000.  Phylogenetic Conservation Units for Rainbow Trout in British Columbia.  BC Fish. Mgmt Rept. 112:35p

Porter, M., J. Rosenfeld, and E. Parkinson.  1998.  Macrohabit Use and Predictive Models of Fish Distribution in the Blackwater Drainage.  BC Fish. Mgmt Rept. 108:26p.

Rosenfeld, J. S., Porter, M. S., & Parkinson, E. A. 1999. Habitat associations of juvenile cutthroat trout: implications for forestry impacts. In Proceedings of a Conference on the Biology and Management of Species and Habitats at Risk, Kamloops, BC (pp. 587-593).