One of our ultimate goals as an agency is to maintain viable populations of fish and wildlife that have a high likelihood of persisting into the future. Genetic data play a critical role, for things such as inbreeding, loss of genetic diversity, hybridization, and a number of breeding individuals can impact the prospects of a population. A common request is to assess genetic diversity, which can aid management by identifying genetically robust populations or those in need of urgent management intervention. There is a suite of metrics that can be estimated with genetics that provides a valuable perspective for population monitoring, such as effective population size, effective number of breeders, relatedness, and inbreeding. We also use genetics to assess the occurrence of hybridization, whether between domesticated and wild populations (e.g. hatchery-origin fish stock versus wild stocks) or invasive and native species.


Peamouth in Abernathy Creek, Washington
Located on the Columbia River, Abernathy FTC provides technical assistance in natural resource conservation to the FWS and its partners primarily in the western U.S.