Jamilynn Poletto

Jamilynn Poletto

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Fish Physiologist
Address 412 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-5890
E-mail jpoletto2@unl.edu

Jamilynn Poletto, assistant professor within the School of Natural Resources, had an unusual beginning to her career.

While completing her bachelor's degree in neuroscience at the University of Rochester, she took a neuroethology class that looked at the neural basis for naturally occurring animal behavior.

"It was one of those 'aha' moments where I said, 'I love this'," she said. "I don't want to go to med school; I want to go to grad school."

She went on to get her doctorate in animal behavior at the University of California, Davis. Her post doctorate position focused on how temperature affects the metabolic rate of the green sturgeon in California.

In 2016, she joined SNR at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a fish physiologist because she fell in love with the department and environment. She grew up in a small town in upstate New York and found that the comradery, open-door policy, and great working environment within SNR made Lincoln feel like a small town as well.

"There's lots of opportunities here for interesting fish work," Poletto said. "The fish diversity afforded meaningful work."

Poletto teaches ichthyology, ecophysiology of wildlife and graduate seminars. For her research, she focuses on integrating studies of behavior and physiology of endangered fishes with conservation and management plans. Using this information, she can make more effective management plans.

In the field, researchers find that stressors such as habitat fragmentation, water temperatures, or invasive species may cause the decline in fish populations. Poletto wants to figure out the exact stressor causing a specific fish decline.

"In order to correct the problem or mitigate it, we need to know what the actual corresponding link is," she said. "I link some sort of environmental stressor to the behavior change."

She also works on collaborative projects with others in SNR examining how climate change, coupled with humans, affect natural ecosystems. And, she is studying fish populations in Canada to try to explain why some populations in one part of the world may be doing better than other populations.

Poletto said she is always willing to take on students for research projects, and she hires undergrads during the summer time to take care of fish in her lab. She encourages students to volunteer with her.

"I love to give students the opportunity to develop their own research and gain a lot of work experience so they're prepared to enter the work field," she said.

In the future, Poletto said she would like to continue to grow a strong research team in fish physiology and collaborate more with other SNR faculty.

by Alli Dickey, Natural Resources communications assistant

Selected Publications

Poletto, J. B., Cocherell, D. E., Ho, N., Cech, Jr, J. J., Klimley, P., Fangue, N. A. (2018). The effect of size on juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) behavior near water-diversion fish screens. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 101, 67-77. Online
Poletto, J.B., Martin, B., Danner, E., Baird, S.E., Cocherell, D.E., Hamda, N., Cech, J.J. and Fangue, N.A., 2018. Assessment of multiple stressors on the growth of larval green sturgeon Acipenser medirostris: implications for recruitment of early life‚Äźhistory stages. Journal of fish biology. Online
Ercan, A. M., Kavvas, M. L., Carr, K., Hockett, Z., Bandeh, H., Mussen, T. D., Poletto, J., Cocherell, D. E., Cech, J. J., Fangue, N. A. 2017. Hydraulics Near Unscreened Diversion Pipes in Open Channels: Large Flume Experiments. JAWRA. 53: 431-441. Online
Poletto, J., Cocherell, D. E., Baird, S. E., Nguyen, T. X., Cabrera-Stagno, V., Farrell, A. P., Fangue, N. A. 2017. Unusual aerobic performance at high temperatures in juvenile Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Conservation physiology, 5(1):cow067. Online
Klimley, A.P., Cech, J.J.Jr., Fangue, N.A., Gingras, M., Jackson, Z., Miller, M., Mora, E., Poletto, J., Schreier, A., Seesholtz, A., Sulak, A., Thomas, M., Woodbury, D., and Wyman, M. (2015). Sturgeon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Watershed: New Insights to Support Conservation and Management. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Sciences 13 (4) jmie_sfews_29521. Online
Poletto, J.B., Cocherell, D.E., Mussen, T.D., Ercan, A., Bandeh, H., Kavvas, M.L., Cech, J.J. Jr., and Fangue, N.A. (2015). Fish protection devices at unscreened water diversions can reduce entrainment: Evidence from behavioral laboratory investigations. Conservation Physiology 3, doi:10.1093/conphys/cov040. Online
Mussen, T.D., Cocherell, D.E., Poletto, J.B., Reardon, J.S., Ercan, A., Bandeh, H., Kavvas, M.L., Cech, J.J. Jr., and Fangue, N.A. (2014). Unscreened water-diversion pipes threaten green sturgeon survival. PLoS ONE 9, e86321. Online
Poletto, J.B., Cocherell, D.E., Mussen, T.D., Ercan, A., Bandeh, H., Kavvas, M.L., Cech, J.J. Jr., and Fangue, N.A. (2014). Efficacy of a sensory deterrent and pipe modifications in decreasing entrainment of juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) at unscreened water diversions. Conservation Physiology 2, doi:10.1093/conphys/cou056. Online
Poletto, J.B., Cocherell, D.E., Ho, N., Cech, J.J. Jr., Klimley, A.P., and Fangue, N.A. (2014). Juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) and white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) behavior near water-diversion fish screens: experiments in a laboratory swimming flume. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71, 1030-1038. Online
Verhille, C.E., Poletto, J.B., Cocherell, D.E., DeCourten, B., Baird, S., Cech, J.J. Jr., and Fangue, N.A. (2014). Larval green and white sturgeon swimming performance in relation to water diversion flows. Conservation Physiology 2, doi:10.1093/conphys/cou031. Online
Poletto, J.B., D.E. Cocherell, A.P. Klimley, J.J. Cech Jr., and N.A. Fangue. (2013). Behavioural salinity preferences of juvenile green sturgeon Acipenser medirostris acclimated to fresh water and full-strength salt water. Journal of Fish Biology 82, 671-685. Online

Educational Background

  • BS - University of Rochester, Neuroscience (2009)
  • PhD - University of California Davis, Animal Behavior (2014)


  • 2018 – Parents Recognition Award awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Teaching Council and Parents Association 
  • 2018 – Great Plains Fellows awarded by Center for Great Plains Studies, UNL  
  • 2017 – Research Development Fellows Program (RDFP) awarded by UNL Office of Research and Economic Development  

SNR Program Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Fish Behavioral Ecology
  • Ecophysiology
  • Intraspecific Variation
  • Conservation and Management
  • Endangered Species
  • Fisheries

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

There no Grants found for this selection.

Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Fisheries & Wildlife
Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 482 Ecophysiology of Wildlife X X None
NRES 489 Ichthyology X BIOS/NRES 489/889
NRES 882 Ecophysiology of Wildlife X X None
NRES 889 Ichthyology X BIOS/NRES 489/889