Steven Cooke

Department of Biology
Rm 4440K, Carleton Technology and Training Centre
Carleton University
1125 Colonol By Dr
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1S 5B6

Phone: 613-520-4377



Research area(s):

  • Anthropogenic stressors
  • Aquatic animal health
  • Marine conservation
  • Pacific salmon

Area of Expertise:

Dr. Cooke is a Professor and Canada Research Chair of Environmental Science and Biology at Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario), in the field of fish ecology and conservation physiology. Dr. Cooke is also an Adjunct Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Waterloo and an Affiliate Research Scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Dr. Cooke’s laboratory maintains broad interests in all aspects of aquatic ecology, conservation biology, physiological ecology, animal behaviour and environmental science. Freshwater and marine fishes are used as research models for experiments conducted in laboratory tanks, experimental ponds, and most commonly, field sites. Specific interests are (1) determining the energetic, fitness, and potential evolutionary consequences of a variety of natural (e.g., winter, reproduction) and anthropogenic (e.g., angling, environmental pollution) stressors and, (2) understanding the diversity of energetic, physiological, and behavioural responses of fish to stress at the individual, population, and species level. Dr. Cooke and his students then apply the fundamental knowledge derived from these basic research activities to aid in the conservation and management of aquatic resources. Of late, they have been involved with defining the new discipline of “conservation physiology” – a field dedicated to understanding the mechanisms underlying conservation problems. Because their work is heavily based in the field, they rely on technologies including underwater videography and telemetry to monitor free-swimming fish in the wild.

Their current and prospective research activities focus on three specific study systems that enable them to test hypotheses associated with their research programme and to address applied issues in fish ecology. Their work is currently focused on temperate centrarchid fishes (the sunfish) in Midwestern North America, the Pacific salmonids of British Columbia, and flats and mangrove communities of the Caribbean. Although these systems are all rather disparate in geography, there are common problems and challenges experienced by fish in these very different environments. Specific research projects currently underway include assessment of the compatibility of catch and release angling with marine protected areas, evaluation of the physiological correlates of reproduction and fitness, and understanding the factors influencing the spatial ecology of fish.

Select Presentation(s) / Publication(s):

Twardek, William & Gagne, Tyler & Elmer, L.K. & Cooke, Steven & Beere, M.C. & Danylchuk, Andy. (2018). Consequences of catch-and-release angling on the physiology, behaviour and survival of wild steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Bulkley River, British Columbia. Fisheries Research. 206. 235-246. 10.1016/j.fishres.2018.05.019.

Cook, Katrina & G. Hinch, Scott & Matt Drenner, S & G. Raby, Graham & Patterson, David & Cooke, Steven. (2018). Dermal injuries caused by purse seine capture result in lasting physiological disturbances in coho salmon. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology. 227. 10.1016/j.cbpa.2018.09.026.

Dick, M & J. Eliason, E & Patterson, David & A. Robinson, K & Hinch, Scott & Cooke, Steven. (2018). Short‐term Physiological Response Profiles of Tagged Migrating Adult Sockeye Salmon: A Comparison of Gastric Insertion and External Tagging Methods. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 147. 10.1002/tafs.10027.

Lennox, Robert & Havn, Torgeir & Thorstad, Eva & Liberg, E & Cooke, Steven & Uglem, I. (2017). Behaviour and survival of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar captured and released while surveillance angling for escaped farmed salmon. Aquaculture Environment Interactions. 9. 10.3354/aei00235.

Brownscombe, Jacob & Cooke, Steven & Algera, Dirk & Hanson, Kyle & Eliason, Erika & J Burnett, Nicholas & Danylchuk, Andy & Hinch, Scott & P Farrell, Anthony. (2017). Ecology of Exercise in Wild Fish: Integrating Concepts of Individual Physiological Capacity, Behavior, and Fitness Through Diverse Case Studies. Integrative and comparative biology. 57. 281-292. 10.1093/icb/icx012

K Teffer, Amy & Hinch, Scott & Miller, Kristi & Patterson, David & P Farrell, Anthony & Cooke, Steven & Bass, Arthur & Szekeres, Petra & Juanes, Francis. (2017). Capture severity, infectious disease processes and sex influence post-release mortality of sockeye salmon bycatch. Conservation physiology. 5. 10.1093/conphys/cox017.

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