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John Stephenson

John Stephenson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


John Stephenson’s research primarily includes the evaluation of physiological effects of simulated hydro-turbine passage on juvenile salmonids and other migratory fish. Research is focused on the development of new generation hydro-electric turbines that will optimize turbine efficiency and safely pass fish. Mr. Stephenson has also been associated with the evaluation of groundwater and surface water interactions in rivers and streams and, the deployment of radio and acoustic telemetry systems. He is also versed in the capture and collection of juvenile and adult fish using snorkeling and electro fishing techniques and, the surgical implanting of radio and acoustic transmitters. John has also been involved in the deployment of hydroacoustic systems on many hydro-electric projects in the Columbia and Snake River watersheds.

Research Interests

  • Effects of turbine passage on juvenile salmonids
  • Radio and acoustic telemetry
  • Ground- and surface water interactions

Education and Credentials

  • B.S., General Biological Science, Minor Geology, Washington State University, 2004.
  • A.A., Associates Arts, Spokane Falls Community College, 1992

Awards and Recognitions

  • Member of the team that won second place in the Sydney (Engineers Australia) Engineering Excellence Awards for 2014 in the innovations and inventions division for a project titled Specialist barochambers for testing the limits of decompression that Australian fish species can tolerate during passage through water infrastructure. Equipment and information associated with this prize were part of an exhibit in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia’s contemporary museum of applied arts and scientists.

PNNL Publications





  • Brown RS, TJ Carlson, AJ Gingerich, JR Stephenson, BD Pflugrath, AE Welch, M Langeslay, ML Ahmann, RL Johnson, JR Skalski, A Seaburg, and RL Townsend. 2012. "Quantifying mortal injury of juvenile Chinook salmon exposed to simulated hydro-turbine passage." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141(1):147-157.  doi:10.1080/00028487.2011.650274
  • Janak JM, RS Brown, AHA Colotelo, BD Pflugrath, JR Stephenson, Z Deng, TJ Carlson, and A Seaburg. 2012. "The Effects of Neutrally Buoyant, Externally Attached Transmitters on Swimming Performance and Predator Avoidance of Juvenile Chinook Salmon." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141(5):1424-1432.  doi:10.1080/00028487.2012.688915
  • Carlson TJ, RS Brown, JR Stephenson, BD Pflugrath, AHA Colotelo, AJ Gingerich, PL Benjamin, M Langeslay, ML Ahmann, RL Johnson, JR Skalski, A Seaburg, and RL Townsend. 2012. "The Influence of Tag Presence on the Mortality of Juvenile Chinook Salmon Exposed to Simulated Hydroturbine Passage: Implications for Survival Estimates and Management of Hydroelectric Facilities." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32(2):249-261.  doi:10.1080/02755947.2012.661384


  • Stephenson JR, AJ Gingerich, RS Brown, BD Pflugrath, Z Deng, TJ Carlson, M Langeslay, ML Ahmann, RL Johnson, and A Seaburg. 2010. "Assessing barotrauma in neutrally and negatively bouyant juvenile salmonids exposed to simulated hydro-turbine passage using a mobile aquatic barotrauma laboratory." Fisheries Research 106(3):271-278.  doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2010.08.006


  • Brown RS, TJ Carlson, AE Welch, JR Stephenson, CS Abernethy, BD Ebberts, M Langeslay, ML Ahmann, DH Feil, JR Skalski, and RL Townsend. 2009. "Assessment of Barotrauma from Rapid Decompression of Depth-Acclimated Juvenile Chinook Salmon Bearing Radiotelemetry Transmitters." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138(6):1285-1301 . 


  • Bellgraph BJ, RS Brown, JR Stephenson, AE Welch, KA Deters, and TJ Carlson. 2008. "Healing Rate of Swim Bladders in Rainbow Trout." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 137(6):1791-1794.  doi:10.1577/T07-167.1



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