Testing molecular and otolith tools to investigate population-of-origin and migration in Arctic cisco found in the Colville River, Alaska

Regions: Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: biology, fish, cisco, spawning areas, fish distribution

Principal Investigator: Nielsen, Jennifer L. (2)
Licence Number: 14212
Organization: USGS - Alaska Science Center
Licenced Year(s): 2008 2007
Issued: Jul 27, 2007
Project Team: Chris Zimmerman (Otolith analysis, USGS - Alaska Science Center), Sara Graziano (Genetic Analysis, USGS - Alaska Science Center), Amanda Joynt (Sample collection, DFO - Inuvik)

Objective(s): This study aims to use genetic markers and otolith microchemistry to determine if differences exist between putative Arctic cisco spawning aggregations in tributaries of the Mackenzie River (Peel and Arctic Red rivers); and, if differences do exist, to use this information to identify population-of-origin for fish caught in the Colville River subsistence fishery.

Project Description: This study aims to use genetic markers and otolith microchemistry to determine if differences exist between putative Arctic cisco spawning aggregations in tributaries of the Mackenzie River (Peel and Arctic Red rivers); and, if differences do exist, to use this information to identify population-of-origin for fish caught in the Colville River subsistence fishery.

During the summer or fall (1 August – 30 September) of 2007, sample collections of mature Arctic cisco from the Arctic Red and Peel rivers will be made for subsequent genetic and otolith analysis. Sample collections of 40-60 mature Arctic cisco will be made from each river to allow sufficient statistical rigor for future analysis. It is estimated that each sample collection will be made over 1-2 days for each river. Exact dates for sampling will be determined within the sampling period depending on run timing and availability of field personnel. Field personnel are expected to include individuals from the DFO office in Inuvik, Canada and may include locally contracted hires. Arctic cisco will be caught using 3-inch mesh gill nets. Whole fish will be collected and frozen. Sample collection date, location, length, and weight of each fish will be recorded at capture. All by-catch will be immediately returned to waters at the time and location of collection. Samples will be processed in the USGS Molecular Ecology Lab in Anchorage, Alaska or in a similar lab in Canada prior to shipping that may later be identified. Extracted DNA and otoliths will be analyzed in the USGS Molecular Ecology Lab using genetic and otolith markers. Results will be summarized in electronic databases, analyzed using a variety of software packages, and summarized in reports and scientific publications. Results from this study will be made available to scientific researchers and people of local communities in Canada and Alaska that may be interested or impacted by the results of the study.
Results will be made available to individuals in the NWT in the form of reports and scientific publications. The ability of the researchers or local DFO personnel (Inuvik) to present results of this study at local community meetings has not been determined at this time but remains a possibility for the future.

Fieldwork will be conducted from August 01 to September 30, 2007 at the Arctic Red River and Peel River, NWT.