Genetic conservation in salmon hatcheries

Measuring What Matters: Linking Life History Traits and Disease Resistance with Genomic Variation in Chinook Salmon Conservation Hatcheries

Researchers will develop tools and technologies for measuring and monitoring genetic change in fitness traits in Chinook salmon hatchery populations.

Principal Investigator

Kerry Naish, University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Co-Principal Investigators

Diane Elliott, U.S. Geological Service

David Fast, Yakima Nation Fisheries

Maureen Purcell, U.S. Geological Service

Kenneth Warheit, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


Many questions remain about the advantages and risks of various methods for enhancing Chinook salmon populations. This project will study two populations originating from the same hatchery: one that uses returning hatchery fish as broodstock and another that uses only naturally spawned wild fish as broodstock. Researchers will assess the rate of change in genetic markers related to fitness traits in these two populations. Findings will help managers develop best practices for enhancement programs, determine the proportions of hatchery and wild fish that should be included in broodstock to preserve population fitness, and develop key genetic technologies for testing management approaches, assessing risk, and monitoring biodiversity changes in hatchery populations.