Using genetic tools to inform management and study local adaptation in Pacific salmon
Larson, Wesley Alan
MetadataShow full item record
Genetic analysis represents a powerful tool for informing management and studying adaptation in wild populations. For example, genetic tools can be used to delineate conservation units, assign individuals of unknown ancestry back to their populations of origin, and identify genes that are important for local adaptation. The overall goal of my thesis was to apply genetic tools to improve population-specific management and identify the genetic basis of local adaptation in Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.) return to their natal spawning habitats with high fidelity, promoting the formation of distinct populations that are highly adapted to their local environment. Pacific salmon are also an extremely important economic, cultural, and subsistence resource. These characteristics make Pacific salmon ideal candidates for population-specific management and facilitate the study of local adaptation. My dissertation consists of six chapters divided into two major themes. The first three chapters focus on applied research questions aimed at developing and utilizing genetic tools to improve management of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and the last three chapters focus on understanding the genetic basis of local adaptation in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). In chapter one, we used an existing genetic baseline to elucidate the migration patterns of Chinook salmon in the marine environment. Chapters two and three explored the use of genomics in a management context, applying data from thousands of genetic markers to develop novel resources that will aid in the conservation of Chinook salmon from western Alaska. For chapter four, we investigated patterns of selection at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in populations of sockeye salmon from the Wood River basin in southwestern Alaska. In chapter five, we constructed a genetic linkage map and conducted QTL analysis in five families of sockeye salmon. Finally, in chapter six we merged the linkage map with population data to study the genomic basis of adaptive divergence among three ecotypes of sockeye salmon from the Wood River basin. Taken together, these studies highlight the utility of genetic tools, especially genomics, for improving management and studying local adaptation in Pacific salmon.
- Fisheries