Genetics, Physiology and Aquaculture

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Molecular Genetics Lab and Aquarium Staff                                                       

The Genetics, Physiology, and Aquaculture (GPA) Program of the Fisheries Resources Division (FRD) is unique from many programs at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) in that it conducts research that addresses questions across multiple focus areas (e.g., groundfish, coastal pelagic species (CPS), highly migratory species (HMS), ichthyoplankton monitoring). The GPA program is composed of researchers with specific expertise in genetics and physiology.  As the tools in these disciplines are relatively universal across taxa, the projects are often diverse in taxonomic and ecologic scope. A focus area specific to this program at the SWFSC is the use of the program’s unique skillset to provide guidance to the developing marine aquaculture industry in the region, including captive propagation programs aimed to recover threatened or endangered species. The Program serves the public and contributes information to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s West Coast Regional Office, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC), and the scientific community.

The species covered within the group are found primarily in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator but occasionally projects expand to include the South Pacific and Indian Oceans for broadly distributed species. The majority of the work focuses on the California Current ecosystem, which spreads along the west coast of North America from approximately the northern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to approximately Punta Eugenia, Baja California Sur. The species researched are important components of both commercial and recreational fisheries as well as major components of the California Current Ecosystem. 

The vision of the GPA Program is the use of both genetic and physiology tools to provide improved management guidance to relevant management bodies and to industry.  This guidance follows two separate but intertwined pathways: guidance for management of wild stocks by improving traditional metrics of stock structure, life history information, and performance in respect to change in environmental parameters; guidance for development of a nascent West Coast marine aquaculture industry by identifying best practices in regards to broodstock selection, husbandry practices, and genetic management.  

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