Julia McMahon

Julia McMahon

M.S. Student


2140 Koyukuk Drive
138b Irving II
Fairbanks, AK 99709



University of Montana, Missoula
B.A. Biology



Ecological barriers and bridges to introgression: hatchery-origin pink salmon on the wild spawning grounds of Prince William Sound, Alaska 






A lifelong Alaskan, Julia is working on a master's in Fisheries at UAF. She received a B.A. in Biology at the University of Montana, Missoula, in 2011 and returned to Alaska. She has worked on numerous projects in Alaska's marine sciences from the Arctic and Bering seas to Prince William Sound.


Current research projects

  • Julia is working with hatchery and wild pink salmon in Prince William Sound (PWS). Hatcheries release thousands of juvenile pink salmon (with thermally marked otoliths) into coastal Alaskan waters and when they return to spawn, some stray to wild spawning grounds and mingle with naturally born pink salmon. A current Alaska Department of Fish and Game study investigating the proportions and genetics of straying (and homing) pink salmon provides a framework for a concurrent and crucial investigation into the ecology of hatchery and naturally born pink salmon in wild streams. Julia had a successful 2017 pilot season in Paddy Bay, PWS. From August through September she tagged pink salmon as they entered Paddy Creek and recovered 55% of the tagged salmon, a feat in the face of intense bear predation. Julia is incorporating tagging, morphometric, and isotope data from her field seasons and from preexisting pink salmon data sets to address ecological concerns surrounding hatchery presence in wild streams.


Awards / Honors

  • Rasmuson Fisheries Fellowship 2017



  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Prince William Sound Science Center