Rachel Johnson

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General Information

Rachel is a Research Fisheries Biologist with NOAA Fisheries, Fisheries Ecology Division specializing in applied ecology of freshwater, anadromous and marine fishes. She has 14 + years of experience filling critical data gaps that have been used to better manage water and fisheries resources in California. Rachel has pioneered isotope tools to better understand migration, habitat use, contaminant exposure, and connectivity in fish populations. Her work focuses on understanding mechanisms of population viability and aids in determining critical habitats for reproduction, survival, and growth of endangered species and those targeted by fisheries. She is a translational ecologist dedicated to communicating and synthesizing science to ensure that scientific information is available to resource managers, decision-makers, and the public.


1.      Johnson RC, Stewart AR, Limburg KE, Huang R, Cocherell D, Feyrer F.  2020.  Lifetime chronicles of selenium exposure linked to deformities in an imperiled migratory fish.  Environmental Science and Technology.

2.      Stewart AR, Feyrer F, Johnson RC. Resolving selenium exposure risk: Spatial, temporal, and tissue-specific variability of an endemic fish in a large, dynamic estuary.  Science of the Total Environment 707: 135919.

3.      Sturrock A, Weber PK, Heyne T, Wikert JD, Phillis C, Whitman G, Carlson SM, Johnson RC. 2019. Un-natural selection of salmon life history portfolios in a regulated river.  Global Change Biology.

4.      Munsch SH, Correigh GM, Johnson RC, Satterthwaite WH, Imaki H, Brandes P. 2019.  Warm, dry winters truncate timing and size distribution of seaward-migrating salmon across a large, regulated watershed. Ecological Application.

5.      Crozier LG, McClure MM, Beechie T, Bograd SJ, Boughton DA, Carr M, Thomas D. Cooney TD, Dunham JB, Greene CM, Haltuch MA, Hazen EL, Holzer DM, Huff DD, Johnson RC, Jordan CE, Kaplan IC, Lindley ST, Mantua NJ, Moyle PB, Myers JM, Nelson MW, Spence BC, Weitkamp LA, Williams TH, Willis‑Norton E. 2019. Climate vulnerability assessment for Pacific salmon and steelhead in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. PLoS ONE.

6.      Feyrer FV, Whitman G, Young M, Johnson RC. 2019.  Strontium isotopes reveal the role of ephemeral streams to the early life migration and recruitment success of an imperiled potamodromous cyprinid.  Marine and Freshwater Research.

7.      Herbold B, Carlson SM, Henery R, Johnson RC, Mantua N, McClure M, Moyle P, Sommer T.  2018. Managing for salmon resilience in California’s variable and changing climate. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Sciences 16:2.

8.      Willmes M, Hobbs JA, Sturrock AM, Bess Z, Lewis LS, Glessner JJ, Johnson RC, Kurth R, Kindopp J. 2018.  Fishery collapse, recovery, and the cryptic decline of wild salmon on a major California river.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

9.      Morais P, Dias E, Cereira I, Carson SM, Johnson RC, Sturrock AM. 2018.  How scientists reveal the secret migrations of fish.  Frontiers for Young Minds 6:67.

10.  Phillis CC, Sturrock AM, Johnson RC, Weber PK. 2018. Endangered winter-run Chinook salmon rely on diverse rearing habitats in a highly altered landscape.  Biological Conservation 217:358-362.

Twitter: @CAfishdiaries

Positions and Roles: 
Senior Researcher
Research Interests: 
Fisheries and isotope ecology