Steven Cooke

Steven Cooke
Carleton University · Department of Biology

PhD

About

1,220
Publications
419,609
Reads
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42,458
Citations
Introduction
Our lab uses ecological, physiological and behavioural tools and concepts to address questions related to how aquatic animals interact with each other and their environment. We are particularly interested in how human activities influence aquatic animals with a focus on solutions. Nearly all of our work is focused on wild animals in the field so we rely on the conservation physiology toolbox (e.g., biotelemetry) to characterize stress. We attempt to scale from individuals to populations.
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - present
Carleton University
Position
  • Managing Director
September 2011 - present
University of Waterloo
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Adjunct Professor of Biology
January 2003 - November 2005
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • NSERC and Killam PDF

Publications

Publications (1,220)
Article
Fish captured and released by recreational anglers are often exposed to air to enable hook removal and for admiration (e.g., photography). It is necessary to identify thresholds for air exposure that minimize sublethal alterations to inform best practice guidelines yet doing so in ecological-relevant field settings is challenging. We developed a no...
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Thriving freshwater fish populations contribute to people’s economic prosperity and wellbeing. Yet, freshwater fish populations are in critical condition around the globe. Most stressors to freshwater fishes, fisheries, and culture stem from habitat impacts, water-quality issues, and aquatic invasive species. Logistical difficulties of monitoring f...
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Inland recreational fisheries, found in lakes, rivers, and other landlocked waters, are important to livelihoods, nutrition, leisure, and other societal ecosystem services worldwide. Although recreationally-caught fish are frequently harvested and consumed by fishers, their contribution to food and nutrition has not been adequately quantified due t...
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Fisheries are highly complex social-ecological systems that often face ‘wicked’ problems from unsustainable resource management to climate change. Addressing these challenges requires transdisciplinary approaches that integrate perspectives across scientific disciplines and knowledge systems. Despite widespread calls for transdisciplinary fisheries...
Article
Giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis, GT) are growing in popularity as a target for tourism-based recreational fisheries throughout their range in the Indo-Pacific. Although predominately catch-and-release (C&R), to date there is no species-specific scientific evidence to support capture and handling guidelines. As such, we examined how GT caught via f...
Article
Sustainable catch-and-release fisheries are based on the assumption that most fish survive an angling event. The adoption of best practices has become important to help mitigate post-release injury, behavioral impairment and mortality. However, in any catch-and-release fishery, a proportion of fish will become inadvertently deeply hooked (e.g., in...
Article
Two hypotheses were tested concerning the consequences to adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) of escape from commonly used fishing gear (gillnet, seine net and tangle net). First, by experimentally exposing 214 fish to three commonly used fishing gear types (gillnets, tangle nets, or seine nets) and releasing to complete migration after PIT-t...
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Background Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is vital for mitigating climate change and meeting commitments to international agreements such as the COP 21 Paris Agreement of 2015. Agriculture is reported to account for approximately 11 percent of total global GHG emissions such that: the agricultural sector has an important role to...
Article
Inland recreational fisheries provide numerous socio-economic benefits to fishers, families and communities. Recreationally harvested fish are also frequently consumed and may provide affordable and sustainable but undervalued contributions to human nutrition. Quantifying the degree to which recreationally harvested fish contribute to food security...
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Many types of guidance documents inform conservation by providing practical recommendations for the management of species and habitats. To ensure effective decisions are made, such guidance should be based upon relevant and up-to-date evidence. We reviewed conservation guidance for mitigation and management of species and habitats in the United Kin...
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a unifying call for change - guiding global actions at multiple levels of governance for a better planet and better lives. Consequently, achieving the “future we want” may be hindered by overlooking valuable natural resources and services that are not explicitly included in the SDGs. Not r...
Article
Handling and conducting invasive procedures are necessary for aspects of fisheries science, invariably inducing a stress response and imposing energetic demands on fish. Anaesthesia or immobilization techniques are often used in an attempt to mitigate stress and improve welfare, yet these also come with their own impacts on post‐release recovery. H...
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The growing demand for hydropower has influenced the connectivity of freshwater ecosystems. Entrainment through turbines has been identified as one factor which can potentially affect fish populations within and downstream of reservoirs and, in some cases, large numbers of entrained fish are recorded. There is a need to understand and assess specie...
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Methods for the use of baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) have been tested and refined such that they are now widely used in marine research for assessing fish community structure. There is comparatively less known about the effectiveness of different bait types or bait containers for use with BRUVS in freshwater temperate environments...
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Freshwater biodiversity is in a state of crisis. The recent development of a global emergency recovery plan to “bend the curve” for freshwater biodiversity lacks the necessary details for implementation in a regional context. Using Canada as an example, we describe a toolbox intended to equip decision-makers and practitioners with evidence-based to...
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Many government organizations use recovery planning to synthesize threats, propose management strategies, and determine recovery criteria for threatened wildlife. Little is known about the extent to which physiological knowledge has been used in recovery planning, despite its potential to offer key biological information that could aid in recovery...
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In response to colonial research paradigms that have subjugated Indigenous Peoples, knowledges, lands, and waters, Indigenous research methodologies have emerged to center Indigenous visions and voices in research practice. Here, we employ such methodologies to improve collective understanding of the state and future of wild Pacific salmon (Oncorhy...
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There are many syntheses on the role of animal behavior in understanding and mitigating conservation threats for wildlife. That body of work has inspired the development of a new discipline called conservation behavior. Yet, the majority of those synthetic papers focus on non-fish taxa such as birds and mammals. Many fish populations are subject to...
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The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is dramatically impacting planetary and human societal systems that are inseparably linked. Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 expose how human well-being is inextricably interconnected with the environment and to other converging (human driven) social–ecological crises, such as the dramatic losses of b...
Article
Dehooking tools are often touted as a means to remove hooks from fish caught in recreational fisheries, especially for fish intended for release. We used Bluegill as a model species to test the efficacy of five dehooking tools as well as bare hands, for both barbed and barbless hooks. Bare hands took the longest to dehook fish, and there was little...
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The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), native to the Black and Caspian Seas, is one of the most wide-ranging invasive fishes, having established in much of Europe and North America. In 2019, round goby were discovered to have colonized a central portion of the Rideau Canal, a 202 km historic waterway in Ontario, Canada. Round goby were found in l...
Article
Sharks, like other fish, react to capture and handling stress with more exaggerated physiological responses than most other vertebrates, and the potential consequences of their capture include both sub-lethal and lethal effects. Blue sharks, Prionace glauca, are one of the most heavily exploited species of sharks in the world, both in commercial an...
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Ecosurveillance has proliferated in recent years, generating vast amounts of data on the natural environment. Ecosurveillance also has significant potential impacts on humans; therefore, researchers and policymakers need new conceptual tools to anticipate and mitigate any negative effects. Surveillance studies is an interdisciplinary field in the s...
Article
Recreational fisheries are diverse in scale, scope, and participation worldwide, constituting an important ecosystem service of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Management of these socio‐ecological systems is challenged by monitoring gaps, stemming from difficulties engaging with participants, biased sampling, and insufficient resources to conduct...
Article
There is growing evidence that bioenergetics can explain relationships between environmental conditions and fish behaviour, distribution, and fitness. Fish energetic needs increase predictably with water temperature, but metabolic performance (i.e., aerobic scope) exhibits varied relationships, and there is debate about its role in shaping fish eco...
Article
Energy depletion is a significant concern for animals that migrate long distances on fixed energy budgets. Migrating adult Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) cease feeding in the ocean and are entirely reliant on endogenous energy stores to successfully complete their subsequent freshwater migration and spawn. Most research on adult s...
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Dead animals may be an important or the only source of tissues to analyze for stable isotopes, with the goal of making inferences about an animal’s past ecological history. However, in nature, stable isotope values may be affected by myriad decomposition processes, such as abiotic environmental conditions and bacterial and fungal decay, potentially...
Article
Environmental decisions related to policy and practice should be based on the best available evidence. Given the vast amounts of information of varying reliability, an ongoing challenge for decision-makers is how to access, collate, and use this information. The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) is dedicated to the synthesis of environ...
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Given its extensive volume and reach, social media has the potential to widely spread conservation messaging and be a powerful tool to mobilize social change for conserving biodiversity. We synthesized gray and primary academic literature to investigate the effects of social media on wildlife conservation, revealing several overarching benefits and...
Article
Inland temperate lakes undergo various physical processes, such as thermal stratification, that dictate the spatial availability of suitable temperature and dissolved oxygen conditions. Here, we use intensive limnological monitoring and acoustic telemetry transmitters implanted in wild fish to document the magnitude and frequency of thermocline def...
Article
Temperature is critical in regulating virtually all biological functions in fish. Low temperature stress (cold shock/stress) is an often‐overlooked challenge that many fish face as a result of both natural events and anthropogenic activities. Here we present an updated review of the cold shock literature based on a comprehensive literature search,...
Article
Interspecific interactions can play an essential role in shaping wildlife populations and communities. To date, assessments of interspecific interactions, and more specifically predator–prey dynamics, in aquatic systems over broad spatial and temporal scales (i.e., hundreds of km and multiple years) are rare due to constraints on our abilities to m...
Article
Understanding animal movement is essential to elucidate how animals interact, survive, and thrive in a changing world. Recent technological advances in data collection and management have transformed our understanding of animal “movement ecology” (the integrated study of organismal movement), creating a big-data discipline that benefits from rapid,...
Article
Black bass Micropterus spp. live‐release tournaments are a popular activity in North America. Efforts continue to further increase survival and enhance welfare of fish released from competitive angling events. Recently, some tournaments have adopted a new weigh‐in format in which black bass are weighed immediately (hanging from a scale in air) and...
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Altering the natural flow regime, an essential component of healthy fluvial systems, through hydropower operations has the potential to negatively impact freshwater fish populations. Establishing improved management of flow regimes requires better understanding of how fish respond to altered flow components, such as flow magnitude. Based on the res...
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A key aspect of contemporary fish habitat management is the need to account for losses and gains associated with development and offsetting measures while protecting high quality features. We propose an ecological accounting framework for aquatic ecosystems using habitat equivalents scaled to aquatic productivity, and using fish-to-habitat associat...
Article
As catch-and-release becomes more popular and angling pressure increases, it is likely that fish in popular fisheries will experience catch-and-release events on more than one occasion (i.e., “multiple captures”). Anecdotal reports from anglers suggest that blue-finned mahseer (Tor khudree) in WASI Lake, Karnataka, India, commonly experience multip...
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Global freshwater biodiversity is declining dramatically, and meeting the challenges of this crisis requires bold goals and the mobilisation of substantial resources. While the reasons are varied, investments in both research and conservation of freshwater biodiversity lag far behind those in the terrestrial and marine realms. Inspired by a global...
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The cover image is based on the Viewpoint A global agenda for advancing freshwater biodiversity research by Alain Maasri et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13931. Image Credit: Solvin Zankl. image
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American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) were used as a case study to assess whether Ontario’s Endangered Species Act proponent-driven regulatory approach resulted in successful imperilled species management outcomes. American Eel observation databases and proponent-prepared mitigation plans and monitoring data were used to assess whether: ( i) facilities...
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The capacity to extract oxygen from the water, and the ability of the heart to drive tissue oxygen transport, are fundamental determinants of important life-history performance traits in fish. Cardiac performance is in turn dependent on the heart's own oxygen supply, which in some teleost species is partly delivered via a coronary circulation origi...
Article
Hydropower production is one of the greatest threats to fluvial ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity. Now that we have entered the Anthropocene, there is an opportunity to reflect on what might constitute a ‘sustainable’ Anthropocene in the context of hydropower and riverine fish populations. Considering elements of existing practices that promot...
Article
Micro‐fishing is an emerging form of predominantly catch‐and‐release recreational angling with the main target being diverse small‐bodied non‐game fish species and the early life stages of traditional game fish. While there has been an apparent increase in interest in micro‐fishing, little is known about its impacts on fish and fisheries. Here we c...
Article
Catch and release (C&R) ice fishing is a popular form of recreational angling. At present, there is a considerable deficiency in our understanding of how ice angling affects the physiology, behaviour, and survival of fishes. Thus, the purpose of this review was to summarize our current knowledge of the consequences of winter C&R fishing on fish bio...
Article
Efforts are underway to re‐evaluate the use of existing instream infrastructure (e.g., weirs, water control dams) for the purposes of hydroelectric generation, with new very low head turbine technology that is purportedly “fish friendly” making retrofitting a viable option. This is the case at Wasdell Falls on the Severn River, ON, Canada, where th...
Article
1. Animal movement and resource use are essential considerations for effective environmental management, but they are challenging to quantify in expansive natural ecosystems such as oceans. 2. We used a novel combination of fish tracking with expansive acoustic telemetry networks, stable isotope analysis, and integrated modeling techniques to char...
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Many of the world’s rivers are dammed, altering the physiology, behaviour, ecology and survival of fish. Integrative research has the potential to improve our understanding of these impacts and could enable environmental managers to develop effective solutions for population conservation. Such approaches, however, are not yet prevalent. We use a ca...
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Because of growing interest in deploying newer very low head (VLH) turbine technology to generate electricity in rivers, there is a need to assess how fish fare in interactions with VLH turbines. We assessed injury and mortality rates from experimental VLH turbine entrainment of fish species local to the study site at Wasdell Falls on the Severn Ri...
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Natural resources management (NRM) is complex and relies on decisions supported by evidence, including Western-based science (WBS) and Indigenous and local knowledge. However, it has been shown that there is a disconnect between WBS and its application, whereby managers often draw on non-empirical sources of information (i.e., intuition or advice f...
Chapter
Freshwater ecosystems are home to a rich biodiversity that faces many persistent and emerging threats and stressors. Scientists have adopted the use of electronic tagging and tracking technology (e.g., biotelemetry and biologging) to understand the biology and animal behavior of organisms that live in inland waters. Electronic tags can help generat...
Article
Barriers in rivers have the potential to severely decrease functional connectivity between habitats. Failure to pass barriers and reach natal spawning habitat may compromise individual reproductive success, particularly for semelparous, philopatric species that rely on free-flowing rivers to reach natal habitat during their once in a lifetime spawn...
Article
Nearly all organisms rely on natural fluctuations of light as cues for synchronizing physiological processes and behavioural actions associated with foraging, growth, sleep and rest, reproduction, and migration. Consequently, although artificial lighting sources have provided a plethora of benefits for humans, they can lead to disruptions for wild...
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Inland fisheries make substantial contributions to food security and livelihoods locally, regionally, and globally but their conservation and management have been largely overlooked by policy makers. In an effort to remedy this limited recognition, a cross-sectoral community of scientists, practitioners, and policy makers from around the world conv...
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The benefits of physiological biomarkers, knowledge and concepts are well-established in fish and wildlife management as they confer the ability to understand mechanistic processes, identify cause-and-effect relationships, and develop predictive models. Although this approach is gaining momentum in the context of species conservation, the use of ph...
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Research results are often not easily accessible or readily digestible for decision-making by natural resource managers. This knowledge-action gap is due to various factors including the time lag between new knowledge generation and its transfer, lack of formal management structures, and institutional inertia to its uptake. Herein, we reflect on th...
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Shore‐based shark fishing in Florida is rarely monitored as it largely occurs at night on remote beaches and has received a questionable reputation after recent exposure of illegal activity. While these events have led to calls for better management and enforcement, the characteristics of the fishery itself remain largely unknown. Our study, theref...
Article
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The effectiveness of catch‐and‐release as a conservation practice assumes minimal impacts to released fish. In most cases, angling‐related stressors can be mitigated via changes to angler behavior that reduce fight duration, handling, and air exposure. In some cases, stressors may significantly impact the ability of fish to engage in normal swimmin...
Article
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Fish passage structures have been constructed to facilitate fish movement past barriers, though the effectiveness of passage structures is highly variable. Designing fish passage structures that consider the behavioural preferences of fish under different environmental conditions (e.g., light colour, substrate type) has the potential to improve fis...
Conference Paper
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Numerosos estudos têm documentado o impacto do turismo com alimentação no comportamento de animais selvagens, no entanto, ainda não se sabe como a condição fisiológica desses animais pode influenciar a tomada de decisão de espécies aquáticas expostas a esse tipo de turismo. Para contribuir no entendimento deste tema, utilizamos múltiplos marcadores...
Article
Catch-and-release is practiced in recreational fisheries under the premise that released fish will survive with negligible injury and stress. However, hooking injuries may prevent that outcome from being realized. One way to potentially minimize injuries and maximize survival in angled fish is to replace treble hooks on hard plastic lures with sing...
Article
Numerous studies have investigated the impacts of catch-and-release on the post-release behaviour of fish during periods characterized by warm air and water temperatures. Comparatively little is known about the post-release behaviour of fish caught while ice fishing. Largemouth bass (LMB), a popular sportfish in North America, is sometimes encounte...