Stephanie Carlson, Professor

Closed (1) Hatchery versus wild Chinook salmon behavior

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Each year, over two billion juvenile Pacific salmon raised in hatcheries are released into rivers along the West Coast. Hatcheries raise eggs that are then released into the wild as juveniles to support commercial and recreational salmon fisheries and to recover threatened and endangered populations. Practices during hatchery production such as selecting adult brood stock, cultivating fry, and release logistics (e.g. location and timing), can result in trait differences between wild and hatchery fish. Different phenotypes in hatchery fish can alter wild populations if traits are heritable and hatchery and wild fish interbreed. Knowing how hatchery fish behave differently from their wild counterparts is necessary to minimizing the risk of hatcheries on wild populations and managing combined populations.

This project compares the migration behavior of juvenile Chinook salmon born in hatcheries versus born in the wild. We use adult otoliths (ear bones) to reconstruct the life history and migration of adults as juveniles. The undergraduate apprentice will be trained to reconstruct the life history and growth of individual fish using a microscope and image analysis. The undergraduate apprentice may also be trained to prepare otolith samples for analysis. There is potential for the position to evolve into a paid position over time or for the student to pursue an independent research project.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Chen, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: No prior experience is required but an interest in fish ecology and fisheries biology is desired. Working with fragile and small specimens at the microscopic scale requires attention to precision.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

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