Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research


Heath, Daniel (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research)


Evolution & development.




The adaptation of populations to their local environments has implications for speciation theory as well as the conservation and management of genetic diversity in those populations. The genetic mechanisms that underlie the process of local adaptation remain poorly characterized; however recent evidence suggests a role for the evolution of gene transcription regulation in the development of local adaptations. The goal of this thesis is to examine transcriptional divergence among genetically structured populations of juvenile rainbow trout from Babine Lake, BC and test the hypothesis that transcriptional divergence in this system reflects local adaptation. This thesis provides evidence that transcriptional divergence is present among Babine Lake tributaries, that gene transcription correlates with specific environmental parameters of tributaries and that patterns of divergence do not reflect a pattern of evolution by neutral drift. These results reinforce the need to conserve salmonid populations at fine spatial scales to preserve functional (transcriptional) genetic diversity.