Ruth Milston-Clements, Manager, Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory

BARTH ruth Office SDL
Phone  541-737-0743
Education  M.S. Oregon State University


My main research interests lie in the immune and physiological stress responses of fish and shellfish to environmental and anthropogenic perturbations.  As Salmon Disease Lab Manager I am responsible for maintaining the salmon disease research facility, coordinating users, ensuring proper care and use of fish, maintaining healthy fish, monitoring the physical plant, and overseeing the effluent treatment and delivery system.  AQUATIC VIGIL article. 

Feeding the salmon at the
Salmon Disease Lab
Zebrafish at the
Salmon Disease Lab
Salmon eggs



I received my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science through Lancaster University, England study abroad program with a year at OSU.   After falling in love with Oregon during my year abroad, I moved to Corvallis and completed my MS in Fisheries & Wildlife at OSU in 2001. The project was studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the salmon immune system and involved exposing salmon eggs to DDE for a brief time followed by a subsequent brief exposure of the yolk sac fry to DDE. I then raised the fish to juveniles and tested the fishes’ innate and humoral immune responses, finding that the humoral immune response was affected a year after initial exposure to the chemical.

During my graduate years, I had the opportunity to work in Japan at the National Research Institute of Aquaculture.There I conducted an experiment to determine the effects of water flow on the immune and stress functions of masu salmon. Following graduation I carried out a study to characterize the physiological stress response of lingcod at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.  From 2001 to 2011 I worked for the Partnership of Interdisciplinary studies for Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at OSU where I worked on several projects. These projects with PISCO included:

1) Ecological studies incorporating biochemical and physiological techniques to evaluate growth and stress indices of intertidal mussels and sea stars in both Oregon and New Zealand.

2) Studies on invertebrate larval distribution and transport along the Oregon and Chilean coasts, where I spent time at the Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM), located in Las Cruces, central Chile.

The rocky intertidal of the central
Chilean coast at Las Cruces
Central Oregon coast at
Strawberry Hill
Nighttime collections of marine larvae in Chile
(Photo:  Joe Tyburczy)

3) Investigations into hypoxic zones off the coast of Oregon and Chile working with the Microbial Initiative in Low Oxygen Areas off Concepción and Oregon (MILOCO)

Hypoxia research on the R/V Wecoma and R/V Elakha   New Zealand green-lipped mussel,
Perna canalicula.  Photo:  NZTE

Halfway through my time at PISCO, I was fortunate enough to travel the world for a year, then live in New Zealand for 2 years working at a seafood research institute (Plant and Food Research)  where I conducted research on the physiological responses of New Zealand Greenshell mussels to environmental and harvesting variables.

New Zealand green-lipped mussel, (Perna canalicula) (Photo credit: NZTE)


Bruce A Menge, Francis Chan, Sarah Dudas, Dafne Eerkes-Medrano, Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Kimberly Heiman, Margot Hessing-Lewis, Alison Iles, Ruth Milston-Clements, Mae Noble, Kimberly Page-Albins, Richmond Erin, Gil Rilov, Jeremy Rose, Joe Tyburczy, Luis Vinueza, and Phoebe Zarnetske (2009). Do terrestrial ecologists ignore aquatic literature? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7:4, 182-183

Petes, L.E., M.E. Mouchka, R.H. Milston-Clements, T.S. Momoda, and B.A. Menge (2008).  Effects of environmental stress on intertidal mussels and their sea star predators. Oecologia 156:671–680

R. H. Milston, M Davies, B Olla, S Parker, S Clements and C.B. Schreck (2006). Characterization of the physiological stress response in Lingcod. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, vol. 135:1165-1174.

R. H. Milston, A. T. Vella ; T.L. Crippen; M.S. Fitzpatrick ; J. A-C Leong ; C.B. Schreck (2003) . In-vitro detection of humoral immunocompetence in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using flow cytometry. Fish and Shellfish Immunology, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 145-158(14).

R.H. Milston, M.S. Fitzpatrick, A.T. Vella, S. Clements, D. Gundersen, G. Feist,T.L. Crippen, J. Leong and C.B. Schreck (2003).  Short term exposure of chinook salmon (Oncoryhnchus tshawytscha)to o,p’-DDE or DMSO during early life history stages causes long-term humoral immunosuppression. Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 111, no. 13 , pp 1601-1607.

Contreras-Sanchez, W.M., M.S. Fitzpatrick, R.H. Milston, and C.B. Schreck (2000). Masculinization of Nile tilapia with steroids: Alternative treatments and environmental effects. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Reproductive Physiology of Fish (B. Norberg,O.S. Kjesbu, G.L. Taranger, E. Andersson, and S.O. Stefansson, eds.). JohnGrieg, A.S., Bergen, Norway. pp. 250-252.

Fitzpatrick M.S., W.M. Contreras-Sanchez, R.H. Milston, and C.B. Schreck (1999). Fate of the masculinizing agent methyltestosterone in the pond environment.  In: Proceedings of the Fifth Central American Symposium on Aquaculture (B.W, Green, H.C. Clifford, M. McNamara, G.Montao-Moctezuma, eds.). San Pedro Sula, Honduras, pp. 249-250.

Contreras-Sanchez W.M., M.S. Fitzpatrick, R.H. Milston, and C.B. Schreck (1997). Masculinization of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) by single immersion in 17a -methyltestosterone and trenbolone acetate. In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Tilapia Aquaculture (K. Fitzsimmons, ed.). Orlando, Florida, pp. 783-790.