Brook trout (Salvelinis fontinalis),are a cold-water fish endemic to eastern North America and the Great Lakes region. They are the only native trout to much of the eastern US, and because of their preference for cold, clean waters, brook trout are bioindicators of watershed health. Once a popular sport fish among anglers, brook trout populations have declined drastically in the last century and many areas are in danger of extirpation.
In response to population declines, there are multi-state, multi-agency efforts to restore brook trout across their native range (e.g. EBTJV). These efforts center on restoring trout habitat and characterizing the health of remaining populations, with a recent focus on genetic diversity.
Several genetic studies have characterized brook trout populations at regional scales, but little has been done to examine brook trout across their full native range. Our goal is to:
- Describe the phylogeography of brook trout populations across the native range
- Evaluate the relationship between genomic diversity and thermal tolerance across the range
- Create a genomic tool that can be used to evaluate brook trout genetic diversity and population structure anywhere in the native range
By providing a reliable and affordable genomic tool that can be used across the native species range, we hope to improve our ability to better integrate studies from across the range and inform management efforts to better ensure population health and resilience.