Freshwater fishes are amongst the most imperiled species worldwide and, sadly, Canada's fishes are no exception. We conduct work to on the distribution, ecology, and genetic structure of freshwater fishes to better understand limitations and threats to their persistence. Many studies are conducted by collaborating with industry (e.g., BC Hydro, private companies) and government resource agencies (e.g., BC Ministry of Environment, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Parks Canada) in an effort to aid decision-makers, and such experiences add excellent added-value to graduate degrees.

Jared Grummer (PhD, 2017 UW) is conducting research on the genomic basis to adaptation in rainbow trout, BC's most popular sport fish. This work is sponsored by Genome Canada/BC and focusses on thermal adaptation. It will lead to better management of rainbow trout populations that face increasing thermal stress from climate change.

Alex DeBruyn completed an MSc (2019) that examined the basic ecology (population size, age structure, movements) of a unique population of warm-springs lake chub (Couesius plumbeus, see Darveau et al. 2012) in northwestern BC. The work helped inform the recent COSEWIC conservation assessment.

Monica Yau (MSc 2013, see also under "Hybridization") examined over 5,000 westslope cutthroat trout from western Alberta and adjacent areas of BC at microsatellite DNA loci to assess the level of admixture with introduced rainbow trout. This has aided tremendously in understanding the geographic influences on hybridization and has provided critical information necessary for recovery planning (the westslope cutthroat trout has been assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened in Alberta).The results of some of this work have been used to help design restoration actions in Canada's National Parks.

Damon Nowosad (MSc, 2011) completed a study of the distribution and habitat associations of brassy minnow (Hybognathus hankinsoni) in BC, and the effect of the invasive brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) on growth.

Yau and Taylor also recently completed a major study of population structure in three co-distributed species of salmonid fishes (bull trout, Arctic grayling, and mountain whitefish) in the Peace River area of the proposed Site-C Hydroelectric Development (in collaboration with BC Hydro). The results were incorporated into compensation programs for populations whose connectivity will be impacted by the project. Dr. Armando Geraldes (research associate) is now developing genomic assays to inform fish passage at the dam site in our lab's continuing collaboration with BC Hydro.

Past and open projects

I have plans for projects involving estimating hybridization levels in endangered species pairs of threespine sticklebacks and understanding the evolutionary distinctiveness of deepwater-spawning kokanee. I also have interests in invasive species and faunal homogenization (for a summary click HERE), and am also always interested in students who are keen to undertake studies of the taxonomy and distribution of little known species in BC and Yukon (sculpins, dace, suckers), including nearshore marine fishes. Interested?


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