SFU Genetic Proposal

Recent research and traditional knowledge has identified large declines in sockeye salmon populations throughout the Skeena River. Sockeye returning to the Bulkley/Morice are estimated to have declined by more than 80% over the last century of commercial fishing. Such a large decline has prompted several important questions:

Has the amount of ancestral genetic diversity in this population declined at the same rate as abundance?

How much genetic diversity has been lost over the last century of intensive commercial fishing?

Does this population hold the genetic resilience required to persist far into the future given the uncertainties of climate change challenges?

Michael Price (PhD student at Simon Fraser University; SFU), in collaboration with the ancient DNA lab at SFU (Dr. Dongya Yang), Crossroads Cultural Resource Management (Rick Budhwa), and Wet’suwet’en Fisheries (Walter Joseph), propose to participate in an archaeological dig at Hagwilget Canyon during August 2018 to collect ancient salmon bone vertebrate, characterize the genetic diversity in sockeye from ancient times (pre-1900), and to compare such diversity with sockeye caught in Moricetown canyon today to determine changes over time.