Publications by authors named "Kristi M Miller"

9 Publications

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Infected juvenile salmon can experience increased predation during freshwater migration.

R Soc Open Sci 2021 Mar 24;8(3):201522. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Laboratory, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Predation risk for animal migrants can be impacted by physical condition. Although size- or condition-based selection is often observed, observing infection-based predation is rare due to the difficulties in assessing infectious agents in predated samples. We examined predation of outmigrating sockeye salmon () smolts by bull trout () in south-central British Columbia, Canada. We used a high-throughput quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) platform to screen for the presence of 17 infectious agents found in salmon and assess 14 host genes associated with viral responses. In one (2014) of the two years assessed (2014 and 2015), the presence of infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNv) resulted in 15-26 times greater chance of predation; in 2015 IHNv was absent among all samples, predated or not. Thus, we provide further evidence that infection can impact predation risk in migrants. Some smolts with high IHNv loads also exhibited gene expression profiles consistent with a virus-induced disease state. Nine other infectious agents were observed between the two years, none of which were associated with increased selection by bull trout. In 2014, richness of infectious agents was also associated with greater predation risk. This is a rare demonstration of predator consumption resulting in selection for prey that carry infectious agents. The mechanism by which this selection occurs is not yet determined. By culling infectious agents from migrant populations, fish predators could provide an ecological benefit to prey.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201522DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8074935PMC
March 2021

How pathogens affect the marine habitat use and migration of sea trout (Salmo trutta) in two Norwegian fjord systems.

J Fish Dis 2020 Jul 4;43(7):729-746. Epub 2020 May 4.

NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Wild fish are confronting changing pathogen dynamics arising from anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Pathogens can influence animal behaviour and life histories, yet there are little such data from fish in the high north where pathogen dynamics may differ from comparatively southern regions. We aimed to compare the pathogen communities of 160 wild anadromous brown trout in two fjords in northern Norway and to determine whether pathogens influenced area use or return to spawn. Application of high-throughput qPCR detected 11 of the 46 pathogens screened for; most frequently encountered were Ichthyobodo spp., Flavobacterium psychrophilum and Candidatus Branchiomonas cysticola. The rate of returning to freshwater during the spawning season was significantly lower for the Skjerstadfjord fish. Piscichlamydia salmonis and F. psychrophilum were indicator species for the Skjerstadfjord and pathogen communities in the two fjords differed according to perMANOVA. Individual length, Fulton's condition factor and the time between first and last detection of the fish were not related to the presence of pathogens ordinated using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). However, there was evidence that pathogen load was correlated with the expression of smoltification genes, which are upregulated by salmonids in freshwater. Correspondingly, percentage of time in freshwater after release was longer for fish with greater pathogen burdens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfd.13170DOI Listing
July 2020

A rapid intrinsic heart rate resetting response with thermal acclimation in rainbow trout, .

J Exp Biol 2020 06 15;223(Pt 12). Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4.

We examined cardiac pacemaker rate resetting in rainbow trout following a reciprocal temperature transfer. In the original experiment, performed in winter, 4°C-acclimated fish transferred to 12°C reset intrinsic heart rate after just 1 h (from 56.8±1.2 to 50.8±1.5 beats min); 12°C-acclimated fish transferred to 4°C reset intrinsic heart rate after 8 h (from 33.4±0.7 to 37.7±1.2 beats min). However, in a replicate experiment, performed in the summer using a different brood year, intrinsic heart rate was not reset, even after 10 weeks at a new temperature. Using this serendipitous opportunity, we compared mRNA expression changes of a suite of proteins in sinoatrial node (SAN), atrial and ventricular tissues after both 1 h and longer than 3 weeks for both experimental acclimation groups to identify those changes only associated with pacemaker rate resetting. Of the changes in mRNA expression occurring after more than 3 weeks of warm acclimation and associated with pacemaker rate resetting, we observed downregulation of in the atrium and ventricle, and upregulation of in the ventricle. However, in the SAN there were no mRNA expression changes unique to the fish with pacemaker rate resetting after either 1 h or 3 weeks of warm acclimation. Thus, despite identifying changes in mRNA expression of contractile cardiac tissues, there was an absence of changes in mRNA expression directly involved with the initial, rapid pacemaker rate resetting with warm acclimation. Importantly, pacemaker rate resetting with thermal acclimation does not always occur in rainbow trout.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.215210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7328139PMC
June 2020

Thiamine Levels in Muscle and Eggs of Adult Pacific Salmon from the Fraser River, British Columbia.

J Aquat Anim Health 2018 09 10;30(3):191-200. Epub 2018 Jul 10.

35 Honeyfield Lane, Peralta, New Mexico, 87042, USA.

Multiple species and stocks of Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. have experienced large declines in the number of returning adults over a wide region of the Pacific Northwest due to poor marine survival (low smolt-to-adult survival rates). One possible explanation for reduced survival is thiamine deficiency. Thiamine (vitamin B ) is an essential vitamin with an integral role in many metabolic processes, and thiamine deficiency is an important cause of salmonid mortality in the Baltic Sea and in the Laurentian Great Lakes. To assess this possibility, we (1) compared muscle thiamine content over time in a holding experiment using Fraser River (British Columbia) Sockeye Salmon O. nerka to establish whether adults that died during the holding period had lower thiamine levels than survivors, (2) measured infectious loads of multiple pathogens in held fish, and (3) measured egg thiamine content from four species of Pacific salmon collected on Fraser River spawning grounds. Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha had the lowest egg thiamine, followed by Sockeye Salmon; however, egg thiamine concentrations were above levels known to cause overt fry mortality. Thiamine vitamers in the muscle of Fraser River adult Sockeye Salmon shifted over a 13-d holding period, with a precipitous decline in thiamine pyrophosphate (the active form of thiamine used in enzyme reactions) in surviving fish. Survivors also carried lower loads of Flavobacterium psychrophilum than fish that died during in the holding period. Although there is no evidence of thiamine deficiency in the adults studied, questions remain about possible thiamine metabolism-fish pathogen relationships that influence survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aah.10024DOI Listing
September 2018

Capture severity, infectious disease processes and sex influence post-release mortality of sockeye salmon bycatch.

Conserv Physiol 2017 28;5(1):cox017. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada.

Bycatch is a common occurrence in heavily fished areas such as the Fraser River, British Columbia, where fisheries target returning adult Pacific salmon ( spp.) to spawning grounds. The extent to which these encounters reduce fish survival through injury and physiological impairment depends on multiple factors including capture severity, river temperature and infectious agents. In an effort to characterize the mechanisms of post-release mortality and address fishery and managerial concerns regarding specific regulations, wild-caught Early Stuart sockeye salmon () were exposed to either mild (20 s) or severe (20 min) gillnet entanglement and then held at ecologically relevant temperatures throughout their period of river migration (mid-late July) and spawning (early August). Individuals were biopsy sampled immediately after entanglement and at death to measure indicators of stress and immunity, and the infection intensity of 44 potential pathogens. Biopsy alone increased mortality (males: 33%, females: 60%) when compared with non-biopsied controls (males: 7%, females: 15%), indicating high sensitivity to any handling during river migration, especially among females. Mortality did not occur until 5-10 days after entanglement, with severe entanglement resulting in the greatest mortality (males: 62%, females: 90%), followed by mild entanglement (males: 44%, females: 70%). Infection intensities of and measured at death were greater in fish that died sooner. Physiological indicators of host stress and immunity also differed depending on longevity, and indicated anaerobic metabolism, osmoregulatory failure and altered immune gene regulation in premature mortalities. Together, these results implicate latent effects of entanglement, especially among females, resulting in mortality days or weeks after release. Although any entanglement is potentially detrimental, reducing entanglement durations can improve post-release survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cox017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569998PMC
March 2017

Transcriptomic responses to high water temperature in two species of Pacific salmon.

Evol Appl 2014 Feb 12;7(2):286-300. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Molecular Genetics Section Nanaimo, BC, Canada.

Characterizing the cellular stress response (CSR) of species at ecologically relevant temperatures is useful for determining whether populations and species can successfully respond to current climatic extremes and future warming. In this study, populations of wild-caught adult pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon from the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada, were experimentally treated to ecologically relevant 'cool' or 'warm' water temperatures to uncover common transcriptomic responses to elevated water temperature in non-lethally sampled gill tissue. We detected the differential expression of 49 microarray features (29 unique annotated genes and one gene with unknown function) associated with protein folding, protein synthesis, metabolism, oxidative stress and ion transport that were common between populations and species of Pacific salmon held at 19°C compared with fish held at a cooler temperature (13 or 14°C). There was higher mortality in fish held at 19°C, which suggests a possible relationship between a temperature-induced CSR and mortality in these species. Our results suggest that frequently encountered water temperatures ≥19°C, which are capable of inducing a common CSR across species and populations, may increase risk of upstream spawning migration failure for pink and sockeye salmon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eva.12119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3927889PMC
February 2014

Subtle population genetic structure in yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) is consistent with a major oceanographic division in British Columbia, Canada.

PLoS One 2013 21;8(8):e71083. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Department of Zoology, Biodiversity Research Centre and Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The boundaries between oceanographic domains often function as dispersal barriers for many temperate marine species with a dispersive pelagic larval phase. Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus, YR) are widely distributed across the northeastern Pacific Ocean, inhabiting coastal rocky reefs from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska through southern California. This species exhibits an extended pelagic larval duration and has the capacity for long distance larval transport. We assayed 2,862 YR individuals from 13 general areas in the northeast Pacific Ocean for allelic variation at nine microsatellite loci. Bayesian model-based clustering analyses grouped individuals from the Strait of Georgia (SG) into a distinct genetic cluster, while individuals from outer coastal water locations (OCLs) were partitioned equally across two genetic clusters, including the cluster associated with the SG fish. Pairwise FST values were consistently an order of magnitude higher for comparisons between the SG and OCLs than they were for all OCL-OCL comparisons (∼0.016 vs. ∼0.001). This same pattern was observed across two time points when individuals were binned into an "old" and "young" group according to birth year (old: ∼0.020 vs. 0.0003; young: ∼0.020 vs. ∼0.004). Additionally, mean allelic richness was markedly lower within the SG compared to the OCLs (8.00 vs. 10.54-11.77). These results indicate that the Strait of Georgia "deep-basin" estuary oceanographic domain acts as a dispersal barrier from the outer coastal waters via the Juan de Fuca Strait. Alternatively, selection against maladapted dispersers across this oceanographic transition may underlie the observed genetic differentiation between the Georgia basin and the outer coastal waters, and further work is needed to confirm the SG-OCL divide acts as a barrier to larval dispersal.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071083PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749191PMC
April 2014

Consequences of high temperatures and premature mortality on the transcriptome and blood physiology of wild adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka).

Ecol Evol 2012 Jul;2(7):1747-64

Elevated river water temperature in the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada, has been associated with enhanced mortality of adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) during their upriver migration to spawning grounds. We undertook a study to assess the effects of elevated water temperatures on the gill transcriptome and blood plasma variables in wild-caught sockeye salmon. Naturally migrating sockeye salmon returning to the Fraser River were collected and held at ecologically relevant temperatures of 14°C and 19°C for seven days, a period representing a significant portion of their upstream migration. After seven days, sockeye salmon held at 19°C stimulated heat shock response genes as well as many genes associated with an immune response when compared with fish held at 14°C. Additionally, fish at 19°C had elevated plasma chloride and lactate, suggestive of a disturbance in osmoregulatory homeostasis and a stress response detectable in the blood plasma. Fish that died prematurely over the course of the holding study were compared with time-matched surviving fish; the former fish were characterized by an upregulation of several transcription factors associated with apoptosis and downregulation of genes involved in immune function and antioxidant activity. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC1) was the most significantly upregulated gene in dying salmon, which suggests an association with cellular apoptosis. We hypothesize that the observed decrease in plasma ions and increases in plasma cortisol that occur in dying fish may be linked to the increase in ODC1. By highlighting these underlying physiological mechanisms, this study enhances our understanding of the processes involved in premature mortality and temperature stress in Pacific salmon during migration to spawning grounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.274DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3434914PMC
July 2012

Detecting breaches in defensive barriers using in situ simulation for obstetric emergencies.

Qual Saf Health Care 2010 Oct 19;19 Suppl 3:i53-6. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Department of Health Policy & Management and Associate Dean, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-0381, USA.

Background: In Reason's safety model, high-reliability healthcare organisations are characterised by multiple layers of defensive barriers in depth associated with increased levels of safety in the care delivery system. However, there is very little empirical evidence describing and defining defensive barriers in healthcare settings or systematic analysis documenting the nature of breaches in these barriers. This study uses in situ simulation to identify defensive barriers and classify the nature of active and latent breaches in these barriers.

Methods: An in situ simulation methodology was used to study team performance during obstetrics emergencies. The authors conducted 46 trials of in situ simulated obstetrics emergencies in two phases at six different hospitals involving 823 physicians, nurses and support staff from January 2006 to February 2008. These six hospitals included a university teaching hospital, two suburban community hospitals and three rural hospitals. The authors created a high-fidelity simulation by developing scenarios based on actual sentinel events.

Results: A total of 965 breaches were identified by participants in 46 simulation trials. Of the 965 breaches, 461 (47.8%) were classified as latent conditions, and 494 (51.2%) were classified as active failures.

Conclusions: In Reason's model, all sentinel events involve a breached protective layer. Understanding how protective layers breakdown is the first step to ensure patient safety and establish a high reliability. These findings suggest where to invest resources to help achieve a high reliability. In situ simulation helps recognise and remedy both active failures and latent conditions before they combine to cause bad outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2010.040311DOI Listing
October 2010