Lab members Jacqueline Chapman, Daniel Struthers, and Robert Lennox, along with the community of Cambridge Bay, NU, are patiently waiting the arrival Arctic charr for their return to the Grenier Lake system for overwintering. As part of Jacqueline’s PhD research, the migrating charr will be captured by rod and reel using either single or treble hooks, biologically sampled, tagged externally with acoustic transmitters, and immediately released. Their progress up river to will be tracked through an array of VR2W acoustic receivers that were deployed last week. Because of the nature of the relatively small system, this array will be removed post-migration, or receivers would be trapped in ice as early as the end of September!
Once fieldwork is complete, a small gill clip taken from each fish will be transported to the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC, where Jacqueline will quantify gene expression and microbial loads using high-throughput dynamic micro-array qPCR. Jacqueline is interested in how pathogen loads influence behavioural and physiological response after exposure to fisheries stressors, and hopes to identify specific genes and microbial communities that are associated with decreased catch-and-release survival, migration rate, and in-river mortality.