Californians attempt to rescue their salmon

SilverFly

Active Member
Hi Freestone,
I don't think that your dream is a fantasy. Dr. Garza's group has identified some of the genetics underlying spawn timing in steelhead [Abadía-Cardoso A, Anderson EC, Pearse DE, Garza JC (2013) Large-scale parentage analysis reveals reproductive patterns and heritability of spawn timing in a hatchery population of steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss. Molecular Ecology 22:4733-4746.]. And in the fall, I posted an article that described some of the allelic variation in size determination in Atlantic salmon (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104133222.htm). It would be sweet to turn the clock back and see a return of those 80-100lb torpedoes that could conquer the Grand Canyon of the Elwha and spawn in the upper reaches, especially if I can watch them cruise by while I fish the Ranch section of the Elwha....
Steve

Just to see one of those incredible fish would be a life moment.

Any chance the equivalent "big salmon" genes from the extinct Columbia River June Hog Chinook may be lying dormant within the Upriver Bright population? If I remember correctly, the June Hogs rivaled the Elwha Chinook, with a typical fish in the 70 pound range. Unfortunately, it may be a moot point since unlike the Elwha, the Columbia will never flow free again. One can dream though.
 

Gary Knowels

Active Member
Cabezon hit the point that I came to when reading this, strays. If this technique is used, fish that are produced will have greater genetic diversity, leading to a better ability of the population to adjust to fluctuations in environment that happen on a short time scale (a couple of years), leading to a better hatchery program. The biggest bonus I see is that if a stray from this program ends up mating with a wild fish there isn't likely to be a big hit in progeny fitness because of the greater genetic diversity. Human selection, in my opinion, is the strongest evolutionary selection pressure that can be put on a population (see Siberian silver fox experiment) and it is nice to see that some people are acknowledging this and thinking about what criteria we should base our selection on.

I think this is super interesting and a great idea in light of trying to save small populations of fish. Loss of genetic diversity has shown so many times to cause a lot of issues for populations. Sometimes it is the driver of extinction, sometimes the driver of speciation, and others the population gets lucky and can move on relatively unscathed.
 

FinLuver

Active Member
Cabezon hit the point that I came to when reading this, strays. If this technique is used, fish that are produced will have greater genetic diversity, leading to a better ability of the population to adjust to fluctuations in environment that happen on a short time scale (a couple of years), leading to a better hatchery program. The biggest bonus I see is that if a stray from this program ends up mating with a wild fish there isn't likely to be a big hit in progeny fitness because of the greater genetic diversity. Human selection, in my opinion, is the strongest evolutionary selection pressure that can be put on a population (see Siberian silver fox experiment) and it is nice to see that some people are acknowledging this and thinking about what criteria we should base our selection on.

I think this is super interesting and a great idea in light of trying to save small populations of fish. Loss of genetic diversity has shown so many times to cause a lot of issues for populations. Sometimes it is the driver of extinction, sometimes the driver of speciation, and others the population gets lucky and can move on relatively unscathed.


One fact of diversity to survive differing environments in the wild, is not to pull all your mating pairs in a given month, even with DNA selection...fish come from all different types of streams within a given river system for a reason; unfortunately, some of the gene traits have been lost forever in some systems due to hatcheries. Also, don't overlook the diversity that strays bring into the ecosystem.
 

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