Linda Lait, former Post-Doctoral Fellow
Doctor of Philosophy (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
M.Sc. (University of Lethbridge)
University Instructor, Laurentian University
Population genetics of the threatened Athabasca Rainbow Trout.
One of the major threats facing the future viability of Athabasca Rainbow Trout (Onchorynchus mykiss) populations is hybridization (i.e. introgression) with stocked Rainbow Trout. With an abundance of stocked Rainbow Trout in close proximity, and known introgression of stock alleles found in many populations of Athabasca Rainbow trout, there is concern regarding the genetic preservation of this species. Therefore, the purpose/objectives of this study are to: 1) determine genetic purity of Athabasca Rainbow Trout across its population using next generation sequencing; 2) develop environmental DNA markers for Athabasca Rainbow Trout. Initial sampling and genetic analyses conducted by Dr. Poesch and his team on tributaries of the Athabasca River will be expanded to include Laird and Peace drainages, and non-sampled tributaries of the Athabasca. Genetic markers were developed using double digest restriction-site associate DNA sequencing (ddRADseq). Bioinformatic analysis of polymorphic markers identified over 5,000 diagnostic markers. These markers will be used to assess new samples and to develop diagnostic environmental DNA assays. The findings of this study will help identify the direction and strength of introgression between Athabasca Rainbow Trout and stocked Rainbow Trout and the development of eDNA markers, which can aid management of this sensitive species.