Causes and ecological consequences of hatchery chum salmon straying in Southeast Alaska

Chum salmon swimming in the river

Project Description

Approximately 1.5 billion hatchery produced pink salmon and chum salmon are released into Alaska waters each year. Hatchery fish for harvest has obvious benefits; however, one of the costs of hatchery production is the probability that hatchery and wild salmon compete on the spawning grounds should the hatchery fish stray away from the hatchery. Mounting evidence indicates that indeed not all hatchery fish return home to the hatchery where they were produced but some go elsewhere to spawn. This project seeks to better understand some of the causal factors that explain why hatchery chum salmon stray and the ecological consequences of that straying for wild salmon.

Project Funding

Amount: Three year grad student fellowship to McConnell
Start Date: 2014-09-00
End Date: 2017-05-00


Researcher holding a chum salmon killed by a bear


Researcher's hand taking a blood draw from a chum salmon

Research Team

Peter Westley

Peter Westley

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor


  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Life history evolution
  • Dispersal and philopatry
  • Contemporary evolution
  • Aquatic invasions and colonization
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics

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 Megan McPhee

Megan McPhee

Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Professor


  • evolutionary ecology
  • population genetics
  • management/conservation of salmonids

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Research Staff

Casey McConnell
MS Fisheries Student