Jeanette Ferrara ’15


Computer Science

Project Title

Environmental Barriers During Salmon Smolt Migration to the Pacific Ocean

I spent this past summer at Princeton University’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences conducting research on the possible effects of environmental and climate oscillations on the downriver migration of salmon smolts to the ocean on the Pacific Coast of North America. I read a copious number of scientific papers and journal articles pertaining to salmon, and studies concerning fluctuations in their migration patterns, as well as those pertaining to a number of environmental phenomena, specifically tides, which scientists have hypothesized may have adverse effects on smolt migration. I used an online tide height generation program from the University of South Carolina to generate tide height data for the past twenty years at the mouths of each of the major salmon rivers from Northern Alaska to Southern California. I then wrote a program in R that analyzed the tidal data in order to test the hypothesis that tidal fluctuations that result from climate oscillations would be correlated with smolt migration patterns. I also attended a weekly journal club and a number of seminars. I acquired important programming and data analysis skills, as well as the ability to actively comprehend scientific papers.

Internship Year


Project Category



Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey


K. Allison Smith, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences