In mammals, stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) promotes hematopoietic cell mobilization and migration. Although the zebrafish, Danio rerio, is an emerging model for studying hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), the role of SDF-1 in the adult zebrafish has yet to be determined. We sought to characterize sdf-1 expression and function in the adult zebrafish in the context of HCT. In situ hybridization of adult zebrafish organs shows sdf-1 expression in kidney tubules, gills, and skin. Radiation up-regulates sdf-1 expression in kidney to nearly 4-fold after 40 Gy. Assays indicate that zebrafish hematopoietic cells migrate toward sdf-1, with a migration ratio approaching 1.5 in vitro. A sdf-1a:DsRed2 transgenic zebrafish allows in vivo detection of sdf-1a expression in the adult zebrafish. Matings with transgenic reporters localized sdf-1a expression to the putative hematopoietic cell niche in proximal and distal renal tubules and collecting ducts. Importantly, transplant of hematopoietic cells into myelosuppressed recipients indicated migration of hematopoietic cells to sdf-1a-expressing sites in the kidney and skin. We conclude that sdf-1 expression and function in the adult zebrafish have important similarities to mammals, and this sdf-1 transgenic vertebrate will be useful in characterizing the hematopoietic cell niche and its interactions with hematopoietic cells.