Stephen D. McCormick

Adjunct Professor, Biology

Adjunct Professor, Environmental Conservation

Scientist Emeritus, USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

B.S. Bates College, Lewiston Maine

Ph.D., MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1983
Joint Program in Oceanography

Research Interests

Understanding how environmental factors affect animal performance (survival, growth and reproductive success) is important to our understanding of the natural world and how human activity affects it. My laboratory is interested in the environmental and endocrine control of osmoregulation, growth, migration, development and reproduction in teleosts, primarily anadromous fishes. Our current research focuses on physiological and environmental factors that affect conservation, restoration and enhancement of Atlantic salmon, American shad, blueback herring, alewife and Atlantic sturgeon. This includes laboratory and field work on underlying physiological principles and capacities, and applied work on contaminants, hatcheries, dams and with wild populations.


Ferreira-Martins, D., Walton, E., Karlstrom, R.O., Sheridan, M.A. and McCormick, S.D.  2023. The GH/IGF axis in the sea lamprey during metamorphosis and seawater acclimation.  Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 571: 111937.

Shaughnessy, C.A. and McCormick, S.D.  2023.  Juvenile sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) have a wide window of elevated salinity tolerance that is eventually limited during springtime warming. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 80: 105-114.

Shaughnessy, C.A., Myhre, V.D., Hall, D.J., McCormick, S.D. and Dores, R.M.  2023.  Hypothalamus-pituitary-interrenal (HPI) axis signaling in Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) and sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus).  General and Comparative Endocrinology 339: 114290.

Velotta, J.P., McCormick, S.D., Whitehead, A., Durso, C.S. and Schultz, E.T.  2022.  Repeated Genetic Targets of Natural Selection Underlying Adaptation of Fishes to Changing Salinity. Integrative and Comparative Biology 62: 357-375.

Gong, N., Ferreira-Martins, D., Norstog, J.L., McCormick S.D. and Sheridan, M.A.  2022.  Discovery of prolactin-like in lamprey: role in osmoregulation and new insight into the evolution of the growth hormone/prolactin family.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119(40): e2212196119.

Zdasiuk, B.J., Chen, C.Y., Nislow, K.H, Singley, J., McCormick, S.D and Kelly, J.T. 2022. Evaluating acid-aluminum stress in streams of the Northeastern U.S. at watershed, fish community and physiological scales.   Ecological Indicators 144: 109480.

Norstog, J.L., McCormick, S.D., and Kelly, J.T.  2022.  Metabolic costs associated with seawater acclimation in a euryhaline teleost, the fourspine stickleback (Apeltes quadracus).  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, v. 262: 110780.  

Guo, L.W., McCormick, S.D., Schultz, E.T. and Jordaan, A.  2022.  Identification of supraoptimal temperatures in juvenile blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) using survival, growth rate and scaled energy reserves.  Conservation Physiology 10(1): coac022. 

Breves, J.P., McKay, I.S., Koltenyuk, V., Nelson, N.N., Lema, S.C. and McCormick, S.D.  2022.  Na+/HCO3−cotransporter 1 (nbce1) isoform gene expression during smoltification and seawater acclimation of Atlantic salmon. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 192: 577-592.

McCormick, S.D., E.T. Schultz, and C.J. Brauner. 2022. Osmoregulation and acid-base balance. Pages 275-308 in S. Midway, C. Hasler, and P. Chakrabarty, editors. Methods for Fish Biology, 2nd edition. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.