July 2014: Day 1 of Chum Crew Training
“We are very excited for the Chum Project first day of training, because we have been looking forward to our second season for the last 7 months” says the Chum Project Coordinator, Ben Adams. Today, 13 individuals from all corners of the country, with a wide variety of backgrounds, have come to the Science Center for a 4-day training and orientation. The group got an overview of the project, tour of the Science Center, introduction to their crewmembers and some field and bear safety training.
They will be leaving on the 21st to their various allotted areas where they will be accessing streams by foot, skiff, float plan and helicopter. The Sitka Sound Science Center Chum Project will have boats covering the northern and southern ends of Southeast Alaska.
June 2014: Project Update
Ben Adams, Chum Project Coordinator, and Dave Magnus, Chum Biologist, recently took a trip to Hoonah to have a better look at two of the projects streams, Game Creek and Freshwater Creek. Both are accessible from the Hoonah road system, so they rented a van and had a look. These rivers are very large, and therefore it would take too long for a crew to walk from the mouth all the way to where the fish stop spawning. A better way to cover more ground, in less time, would be to drive to each bridge and walk up or down the stream from there. Both the road system, and the river, are pretty intricate so it is important to get the lay of the land. Ben and Dave were pretty pleased with what they saw as far as stream and road conditions go, near all of the bridges on Game and Freshwater Creek.
Dave Magnus looking for chum salmon remains and fry.
The Crew should have a much easier time on these creeks come July and August with such perfect access points.
These are beautiful creeks that the Chum crew are looking forward to working at when the fish arrive.
May 2014: Project Update
The Chum Project is now in its second season, with both the adult and alevin (juvenile) portions of the inaugural season completed.
In March, we began our first round of alevin sampling at Fish Creek, one of our pedigree streams near Juneau. With the use of portable water pumps, we systematically flushed the pre-emergent alevins out of the stream beds, in the areas where we recorded adult chum spawning last summer. The alevins were then sent to the gene lab for analysis. During last summer’s adult sampling, we had taken genetic samples from post-spawned adult chum salmon, and identified whether these individuals were of hatchery or wild origin via thermal marked otoliths. Now that we have our alevin samples, the gene lab can analyze the specimens, and use genetic markers to identify whether these alevin were the offspring of hatchery or wild chum salmon. In turn, this data can provide us with information regarding the differences in relative reproductive success of hatchery vs. wild chum salmon.
With a new summer sampling season fast approaching, we are now working on preparations for our field crew’s arrival. In July we will have 16 seasonal employees that will travel via boat, plane, helicopter, and foot to all 32 of our project streams which are spread out across most of Southeast Alaska. We are all looking foreword to yet another summer collecting data for the Hatchery/Wild Chum Salmon Interaction Study.