Applied Research Program in Conservation Genetics
Capability/Technical Service - Reproductive success of naturally spawning hatchery and naturally occuring fish populations.
Definition. Questions regarding the fitness of hatchery-origin fish relative to that of their wild counterparts have long been of interest to The USFWS and other resource management and conservation entities. Recent advances in genotyping technologies and in the theoretical framework of genetic parentage analysis have allowed researchers to construct pedigrees of all fish sampled within a system and to thus determine the number of progeny and the number of returning adults attributable to hatchery and wild parents. These pedigrees have provided unprecedented insights into the relative reproductive success rates of hatchery and wild salmonids. The ability to directly monitor relative reproductive success of hatchery and wild populations as hatchery broodstock and rearing practices evolve affords novel insights into the impacts of hatchery practices and is a valuable tool toward the goals of hatchery reform.