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sector_ico_Fisheries_trans Fisheries/Aquaculture

Genomic Basis of Variation in Hypoxia Tolerance in Atlantic Salmon

  • Project Leaders: Diane Morrison, Patricia Schulte
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $266,436
  • Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome BC
  • Fiscal Year: 2015
  • Status: Active

Aquaculture is a key economic driver for our province with the farming of Atlantic salmon contributing more than $475 million annually to the economy of British Columbia. Integrating genomics into breeding programs allows aquaculture organizations to be more competitive and address certain conditions that may affect broodstock. In conjunction with Marine Harvest Canada, Drs. Patricia Schulte and Tony Farrell have recently initiated a family-based breeding program to improve broodstock. This research is using genomics to explore the ability of farm-raised Atlantic salmon to tolerate low oxygen conditions (hypoxia) in the ocean. Hypoxia events are linked to increasing sea temperatures, resulting in less dissolved oxygen at higher temperatures, and changes in ocean currents that upwell large pockets of deep water low in oxygen. Hypoxic events represent an important economic cost to Marine Harvest, due to lost revenue resulting from poor fish performance, and it is anticipated that these losses will increase as the prevalence of hypoxia continues to rise. The long term goal of this research is to help Marine Harvest take a genomics-based approach to addressing this problem by increasing their capacity to incorporate hypoxia-tolerance as a trait in their broodstock selection program.