Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research


Aquaculture, Chinook Salmon, Local Adaptation, Transcriptomics


Heath, Daniel


Dixon, Brian




Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food industry worldwide since 1985 and has contributed significantly to the Canadian economy. Thus, methods for increasing aquaculture production are currently being investigated, such as selective breeding programs. Here I developed transcriptional profiles of eight hybrid half-sibling populations of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and examined them for evidence of local adaptation and as a potential marker for marker-assisted selection method. I found evidence of local adaptation among the populations, further supporting this as a driving force behind the large variation witnessed in Chinook salmon life history variation. I used the transcriptional profiles developed for each population in the freshwater (juvenile) stage and tested for correlations with saltwater performance (growth rate and survival). I found significant correlations between saltwater performance factors and juvenile transcription, suggesting that saltwater performance in Chinook salmon can be predicted using freshwater transcription patterns. There were also significant correlations between freshwater and saltwater transcription, indicating possible mechanisms behind the correlation between freshwater and saltwater traits. Freshwater Chinook salmon transcriptional profiles are a promising novel marker for application in marker-assisted selection breeding programs in aquaculture. Overall, transcriptional profiling using selected known-function genes provide the ability to study both local adaptation and performance in Chinook salmon populations.