What We Do

Our work falls under three distinct categories:

Conservation Genetics

Genetics has become indispensable for the conservation of fish and wildlife because it provides information and tools that can guide management. The FWS and its partners routinely use genetic information in the decision making process. Questions frequently posed to Abernathy FTC staff include: What species is this? What population did this individual come from? What are the genetic risks or benefits of changing hatchery protocols? How divergent is this population? Where are boundaries between populations of this species? How genetically healthy is this population or species? How can genetics help me? What does this genetic study mean?

Nutrition & Physiology 

Abernathy FTC provides information and tools to inform the rearing of Pacific salmon and steelhead in the Pacific and Pacific Southwest Regions. We provide fish nutrition related data and methods and protocols to our regional hatcheries. We also give assistance to tribal and state hatcheries and national hatcheries in other regions. Another critical area that requires nutrition input is the raising of threatened and endangered (T&E) aquatic species in refugia. Often little to nothing is known about these species' nutritional requirements. Questions arising from nutritional issues include: Is the quality of the feed good and good for the fish? What do these results mean? How do we determine what to feed fish or other aquatic animals we've brought into refugia? How can I feed this fish for the best result? Preparing for the future, are these alternative ingredients appropriate for Pacific salmon and steelhead? How do feeds impact water quality and how can we mitigate for phosphorous and solids loss in hatchery effluent? 

Quantitative Ecology & Technology

The QET program conducts research to support conservation and management of aquatic resources. In practice, program activities and interests are driven by management questions whose answers require interdisciplinary research and collaboration and utilize a variety of ecological and modeling data. Recent and current projects deal with many of the key issues in fishery conservation, such as the role of hatcheries in conservation and differences between wild and hatchery salmon, habitat fragmentation and fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

Learn more about fish passage
, managing impacts of invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and effects of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
on aquatic species and facilities. Examples of recent project topics include: What are the differences between Pacific salmon reared in a hatchery vs. in the wild? What can be done to limit ecological damage from non-native species? How will climate change affect fish populations and how we manage them? Do water-saving aquaculture systems produce fish that migrate and survive similar to traditional hatchery systems? How can remote sensing technologies be used to help study aquatic species and their habitats?

Our Projects and Research

Here's a link to our Library Collection to view all projects and research.