Nature's Symphony: Abernathy Fish Technology Center's Pursuit of Genetic Discovery and Conservation

Follow brilliant scientists in and out of the field as they aim to bring these bull trout back to their natal streams and work to unlock the blueprints of their genetics in southeast Washington. 

Experience cutting-edge technology as it identifies the home waters of these threatened species and unravels the complex tapestry of life's interconnectedness. Abernathy's voyage of rapid-response genetic analysis sheds light on the wonders of biodiversity, igniting our curiosity and expanding our appreciation for the extraordinary complexity of this natural world. 

The exceptional work that the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan does, from habitat restoration to fish population monitoring, is what makes projects such as the Abernathy Fish Technology Center's Rapid Genetics Response possible. The efforts of the YBIP and key partners, including the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation, not only support the health of the fish populations but also work to enhance and preserve the ecosystem's well-being. Here's the story about how the Abernathy Fish Technology Center's Rapid Genetics Response team helps that effort. 

Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act due to widespread population declines. A common challenge for bull trout is that natal streams where they spawn are separated by dams from the rivers and lakes where they spend their adult lives. Juvenile fish can swim downstream through dams to reach feeding habitat; however, they are blocked by dams when they try to return upstream to spawn. This leaves bull trout from various streams trapped below dams and unable to return to their streams of origin. For more information about the Yakima Basin integrated Plan click here:

An audio described version of this video is available here:

In the lab with Jennifer Von Bargen at Abernathy Fish Technology Center in Washington
USFWS biologists secure PIT (passive integrated transponder) tag antennas in the streambed to track bull trout.

Story Tags

Biologists (USFWS)
Conservation science
Fisheries management