Mapping Fish Biodiversity in the West

This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Dr. Kellie Carim collecting DNA to be brought to the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation to look for both threatened bull trout and detect if invasive brook trout are present in the stream on Rattlesnake Creek, Missoula, Mont.  U.S. Forest Service via AP Michael K. Schwartz
This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Dr. Kellie Carim collecting DNA to be brought to the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation to look for both threatened bull trout and detect if invasive brook trout are present in the stream on Rattlesnake Creek, Missoula, Mont. U.S. Forest Service via AP Michael K. Schwartz

What is the holy grail for biologists protecting the native species of fish in the northern Rockies? According fisheries biologist Dan Isaak, a clear picture of where fish are and where they go. Isaak, who heads up the U.S. Forest Service’s project to create a biodiversity map called the “Bull Trout Environmental DNA Atlas”, says the information formatted digitally so that many scientists can access it and utilize it in their conservation work is of the utmost importance. Scientists here in Missoula are working in tandem with scientists across the region to create this resource. The research is already helping along Isaak’s Cold Water Climate Shield, that identifies cold water rivers and streams that could serve as a refuge for species such as bull trout if global warming continues. Read more about this project in Keith Ridler’s article in The Olympian.

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