Speakers: Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders (Head of Molecular Genetics, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and Dr. Christoph Deeg (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia)
Description: The salmosphere, the world as experienced by salmon, spans several orders of magnitude, ranging from the global impact of climate change to the individual effects of microscopic pathogens. To get a picture of what impacts salmon on a population level, researchers must integrate and extrapolate information from oceanography to microbiology. Recently, genomic tools have enabled us to address many of these questions directly by "asking" the salmon and their environment. Genomic screens of pathogens can survey salmon for dozens of infectious diseases simultaneously. Similarly, the impact that infections and environmental stressors, such as temperature, have on salmon can be assessed by studying their gene expression. On a larger scale, analyzing the DNA left behind in water by animals using a technology called environmental DNA, or simply eDNA, provides an alternative viewpoint of the oceanic environment that is broader than what is captured in conventional nets. eDNA uncovers elusive species, such as sharks, or detects prey species of salmon that spend the day hidden in the deep ocean. In this seminar, Dr. Christoph Deeg (University of British Columbia) and Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders (Fisheries and Ocean Canada) present recent developments in genomic salmon research and provide a new perspective on the salmosphere by highlighting their findings from the 2019 and 2020 International Year of the Salmon Gulf of Alaska Expeditions.