N. Jan Chalupny, PhD
Manager, Biotechnology Outreach and Adjunct Faculty
Shoreline Community College
16101 Greenwood Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133
Shoreline Community College students are working in partnership with the University of Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and NOAA Fisheries on a research project to determine the genetic diversity within and between populations of the Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus).
The Pacific Sand Lance is found along the west coast of the United States and Canada where it is an important forage fish in the Salish Sea, providing a food source for over 100 species of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. It is also a major food source for Chinook salmon, which in turn are a key food source for the struggling Southern Resident Orca population that frequents the Salish Sea. Beyond documenting spawning habitats, few research studies have focused on the Sand Lance as it is not a commercial stock in the Pacific Northwest. However, its pivotal position in the marine food web of the Salish Sea makes it an important species to understand genetically. Until now the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WA DFW) and NOAA have not had the bandwidth to address this question.
Shoreline CC students, working with Dr. Jan Chalupny, are isolating DNA from fin samples gathered from two geographically separate populations of the Pacific Sand Lance. These DNA samples will be used in microsatellite analysis to determine the amount of genetic diversity within each Pacific Sand Lance population and between the two populations. Scientists from the WA DFW and NOAA have stopped by the Shoreline CC Biotech lab to meet with students, describe their own research, and discuss the ways the work at Shoreline CC may inform future decisions around species management in the Salish Sea.