Northwest Fisheries Science Center


Dr. Krista Nichols
Project Lead
Staff Directory

Quantitative Genetics and Aquaculture

The growing human demand for sustainable food resources is leading to a greater use of captive culture, including hatcheries and aquaculture, to produce fish and shellfish for food. Quantitative genetics and genomics are increasingly being used to improve the quantity and quality of fish production and to understand how fish grow, resist disease, and mature. A primary focus of this work is attempting to illuminate the main features of domestication—how animals adapt to culture situations. Such tools are also being applied to detect and assess the consequences of interaction between escaped or feral cultured animals and their wild counterparts. Team scientists are applying proven methods from breeding genetics and developing innovative genomics tools to evaluate progress in both areas.

Representative publications:

Hard, J. J., L. Connell, W. K. Hershberger, and L. W. Harrell. 2000. Genetic variation in mortality of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) during a bloom of the marine alga Heterosigma akashiwo. Journal of Fish Biology 56:1387-1397.

Hard, J. J., D. G. Elliott, R. J. Pascho, D. M. Chase, L. K. Park, J. R. Winton, and D. E. Campton. 2006. Genetic effects of ELISA-based segregation for control of bacterial kidney disease in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63:2793-2808.

Myers, J. M., L. K. Park, K. Neely, P. Swanson, A. Elz, and J. J. Hard. 2011. Feeding ration, genetics, and reproductive traits in female coho salmon: Is bigger better? Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 42:812-823.

Naish, K. A., and J. J. Hard. 2008. Bridging the gap between the genotype and the phenotype: linking genetic variation, selection and adaptation in fishes. Fish and Fisheries 9:396-422.

Neely, K. G., J. M. Myers, J. J. Hard, and K. D. Shearer. 2008. Comparison of growth, feed intake, and nutrient efficiency in a selected strain of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and its source stock. Aquaculture 283:134-140.

Neely, K. G., J. M. Myers, and J. J. Hard. 2012. A comparison of early development between a domesticated strain of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and its parental stock. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:1504-1509.

Thrower, F. P., J.J. Hard, and J. E. Joyce. 2004. Genetic architecture of growth and early life history transitions in anadromous and derived freshwater populations of steelhead. Journal of Fish Biology 65 (Supplement A): 286-307.

Thrower, F. P., and J. J. Hard. 2009. Effects of a single event of close inbreeding on growth and survival in steelhead. Conservation Genetics 10:1299-1307.

Waples, R. S., K. Hindar, and J. J. Hard. 2012. Genetic risks associated with marine aquaculture. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-119.