In the midst of a revolution : science, fish culture, and the Oregon Game Commission, 1935-1949 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r494vn339

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  • This thesis will address the transformation of biological sciences during the 1930s and 1940s and it effects on fisheries science. It will focus on Oregon State College and specifically the Department of Fish and Game Management and the interaction with the Oregon Game Commission. Support for mutation theory and neo- Lamarckism lasted throughout this study's time frame. The resulting belief that the environment can directly affect species fitness could have been a factor in fisheries managers' support for fish hatcheries. Throughout this time frame the science of ecology was emerging, but the dominant science of agricultural breeding science within wildlife management took precedence over ecology. Two case studies show changing ideas about agricultural breeding science as applied to wildlife management. In the first case study, the debate concerning fishways over Bonneville Dam shows that fish hatcheries were counted on to mitigate the loss of salmon habitat due to construction, and to act as a failsafe should the fishways fail. When the 1934 Oregon Game Commission members failed to enthusiastically support the construction of the dam and the fishway plans, this thesis argues that the commission members were dismissed in 1935. The second case study addresses the actions of the Oregon Game Commission in placing some high dams on tributaries of the Willamette River, the Willamette Valley project. This thesis shows that the inclusion of ecological principles in the evaluation of fish hatcheries led the commission to oppose this project. For their opposition, this thesis argues that the 1949 Oregon Game Commission members were dismissed. In both cases, this thesis concludes that the federal funding of water development projects played an important role in the dismissals of both Oregon Game Commissions. In addition, the evolving nature of biological science during the 1 930s and 1940s shows that lingering beliefs in mutation theory and neo-Lamarckism would have supported the use of fish hatcheries as a scientifically acceptable solution to declines in fish runs within the scientific tradition of agricultural methods of breeding wildlife.
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