Hedin Nelson-Chorney, former M.Sc. Student
Bachelor of Science, Specialization in Ecology (University of Alberta)
Aquatic Biologist, Parks Canada, Banff National Park
Paleolimnological Reconstruction of Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) in Alpine Lakes using a Next-Generation Sequencing Platform (link; co-supervisors: R. Vinebrooke, M. Taylor)
My main research focus is to determine which lakes in Banff National Park contain native populations of the threatened Westslope Cutthroat Trout. The species has been reduced to headwater lakes and streams throughout its original range as a result of anthropogenic changes to habitat, stocking of non-native fish, increased competition, and gene introgression from closely related species, such as rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). We are combining traditional paleolimnolgical techniques, such as sediment coring and Pb-210 dating, with advanced molecular genomics to determine if a given water body contained native fish populations before the modern age of stocking. To do this, we will extract environmental DNA from dated lake sediment cores and use species-specific molecular markers to determine the presence/absence of various salmonid species over the past 150 years.