faculty listing

A Photo of  Megan McPhee

Contact Information

School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
309 Lena Point bldg.
17101 Point Lena Loop Rd
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Juneau, AK 99801-8344
Phone: (907) 796-5464

Megan McPhee Assistant Professor

Fish and Fisheries Genetics • Fisheries and Conservation • Fisheries Ecology


  • evolutionary ecology
  • population genetics
  • management/conservation of salmonids


  • B.S. 1996 University of Washington (Fisheries Biology)
  • Ph.D. 2003 University of New Mexico (Biology)

Office Hours

T/Th 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

Research Overview

I am generally interested in the ecological and evolutionary processes responsible for genetic, life-history and morphological diversity in salmonids, as well as the consequences of this diversity for conservation and management of salmonid populations. Some of my recent research includes: the genetic basis for life-history differences between anadromous and resident steelhead/rainbow trout, the consequences of life history for genetic diversity and population structure in sockeye salmon, and rapid morphological divergence in postglacial and introduced fish populations.

Current Research Projects

  • Determining the effects of hatchery supplementation on genetic diversity and fitness in a wild population of sockeye salmon (PSC)
  • Assessing the ability to discriminate among Western Alaska chum salmon stocks using genetic markers (CIAP)
  • Retrospective analysis of freshwater growth and recruitment in Yukon-Kuskokwim Chinook salmon (PCCRC/AKSSF)
  • Growth and physiological status of juvenile pink and chum salmon in SE Alaska (AKSSF) and in the Chukchi and Northern Bering Sea (CIAP)
  • Ecotypic diversity in Kuskokwim sockeye salmon (AYK Sustainable Salmon Initiative)
    'Biocomplexity' has been shown to be an important component of stability in the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. The Kuskokwim River differs from Bristol Bay in that it is dominated by dynamic riverine environments and the river-type life history is common in its sockeye salmon populations. We are studying both river-type (Holitna River) and lake-type (Telaquana Lake) sockeye in the Kuskokwim in order to determine how genetic, morphologic, and life-history diversity is distributed within and among spawning populations in contrasting habitats. Results will inform the degree to which adult returns might be expected to fluctuate at both the local and regional scales. Co-PIs: Tom Quinn (UW) and Jack Stanford (UM)


McPhee, MV, DLG Noakes, and FW Allendorf. 2012. Developmental rate: a unifying mechanism for sympatric divergence in postglacial fishes? Current Zoology 58:21-34.

McPhee, MV, MS Zimmerman, TD Beacham, BR Beckman, JB Olsen, LW Seeb, and WD Templin. 2009. A hierarchical framework to identify influences on Pacific salmon population abundance and structure in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region. American Fisheries Society Symposium 70:1177-1198

Utter, FM, MV McPhee, and FW Allendorf. 2009. The role of population genetics in the management of Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim salmon populations. American Fisheries Society Symposium 70:97-123.

MV McPhee, TH Tappenbeck, DC Whited, and JA Stanford. 2009. Genetic diversity and population structure in the Kuskokwim River drainage support the ‘recurrent evolution’ hypothesis for sockeye salmon life histories. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138:1481-1489.

McPhee, MV and TF Turner. 2009. Genealogical diversity suggests multiple introductions of white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) into the Rio Grande, New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 54:485-492.

Stephenson, JJ, MR Campbell, JE Hess, C Kozfkay, AP Matala, MV McPhee, P Moran, SR Narum, MM Paquin, O Schlei, MP Small, DM Van Doornik, and JK Wenburg. 2009. A centralized model for creating shared, standardized, microsatellite data that simplifies inter-laboratory collaboration. Conservation Genetics 10:1145-1149.

Turner TF, TE Dowling, MV McPhee, C Secor, RE Broughton, and JR Gold. 2009. Polymorphic microsatellite primers for the endangered sucker, Xyrauchen texanus (Catostomidae), are useful for hybridization studies of other catostomids. Conservation Genetics: 10:551-553.

McPhee, MV, MJ Osborne, and TF Turner. 2008. Genetic diversity, population structure and demographic history of the Rio Grande sucker, Catostomus (Pantosteus) plebeius, in New Mexico. Copeia 2008:191-199.

McPhee, MV, F Utter, JA Stanford, KV Kuzishchin, KA Savvaitova, DS Pavlov, and FW Allendorf. 2007. Population structure and partial anadromy in Oncorhynchus mykiss from Kamchatka: relevance for conservation strategies around the Pacific Rim. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 16: 539-547.

Kanda, N, M Goto, H Kato, MV McPhee, and LA Pastene. 2007. Population genetic structure of Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera brydei) at the international oceanic and trans-equatorial levels. Conservation Genetics 8: 853-864.

McPhee, MV. 2007. Age, growth and life history comparisons between the native Rio Grande sucker (Catostomus plebeius) and the invasive white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) in the Rio Grande, New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 52: 15-25.

Moyer, GM, TF Turner, MV McPhee, and KO Winemiller. 2005. Historical demography, selection, and coalescence of mitochondrial and nuclear genes in Prochilodus species of northern South America. Evolution 59: 599-610.

McPhee, MV and TF Turner. 2004. No genetic evidence for hybridization between Rio Grande sucker, Catostomus plebeius, and the introduced white sucker, Catostomus commersoni, in the Upper Rio Grande of New Mexico. Environmental Biology of Fishes 71: 85-93.

Turner, TF, MV McPhee, P Campbell, and KO Winemiller. 2004. Phylogeography and intraspecific genetic variation of prochilodontid fishes (Characiformes) endemic to rivers of northern South America. Journal of Fish Biology 64: 186-201.

McPhee, MV and TP Quinn. 1998. Factors affecting the duration of nest defense and reproductive lifespan of female sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka. Environmental Biology of Fishes 51: 369-375.

Quinn, TP and MV McPhee. 1998. Effects of senescence and density on the aggression of adult female sockeye salmon. Journal of Fish Biology 52: 1295-1300.

McPhee, MV. 2003. Population genetic structure and diversity in populations of Rio Grande sucker (Catostomus plebeius) in three neighboring streams on the Ladder Ranch, Sierra County, New Mexico. Report to Turner Ranch Properties, LLC.

Turner, TF, MV McPhee, D Alò, and WH Brandenburg. 2003. Determination of occurrence of hybridization of San Juan River razorback sucker through genetic screening of larval fishes. Report to the Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque, NM.

McPhee, MV. 2008. Ask the experts: how do spawning fish navigate back to the very same stream where they were born? Scientific American 299:122.

McPhee, MV. 2008. Ask the experts: how do the same fish end up in separate lakes? Scientific American 299:91.