Science unlocks secrets of the wild trout by John Dory

Science unlocks secrets of the wild trout by John Dory
SCIENTISTS from Queen’s University in Belfast are set to present the findings of a three-year research study into the genetic diversity of Ireland’s brown trout and sea trout populations at a one-day conference in this weekend.

The project is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe and its findings will be examined closely by anglers and environmentalists on both sides of the border.

The main purpose of the conference is to report on the results of genetic work carried out on more than 4,500 juvenile trout and more than 3,000 adult trout sampled by Inland Fisheries Ireland staff and anglers across selected rivers in Dublin, Mayo and the Middle Shannon and Lough Ree catchment areas. Information from other IFI commissioned genetic studies of brown trout, in other catchments across Ireland will also be presented.

A unique aspect of the process was that, while Inland Fisheries Ireland staff collected samples from trout in the selected catchment areas, individual anglers provided additional adult trout scale samples from main river channels and lakes.

Scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or non-professional participants is often referred to as Citizen Science. The research findings to be presented at the conference Understanding Brown Trout – Genes, Ecology and Citizen Science in Athlone and will provide IFI with valuable information on how genetic diversity is distributed among trout populations within certain catchments. The results will assist the agency in making the correct and most cost effective fisheries management and conservation decisions in the Republic. However it will also be of interest to those seeking to understand Loughs Neagh and Erne in Northern Ireland which contain unique species of wild fish.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, director of research and development at IFI, said,

“This exciting project is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe and the results will be of interest to anglers, conservationists, fishery managers and the general public. There are not many projects in Europe or beyond that are of this order of magnitude.”

Speakers will include professor Paulo Prodohl from Queen’s and Dr Karen Delanty of IFI. The keynote speaker will be professor Thomas Quinn, University of Washington, USA.

Interested parties can register for the one-day conference. The registration fee is 50 euro. An overview of the research as well as the conference programme on the day is available at

A Lough Ree ferox trout. The lough is one of the waters subject to a three-year study by scientists at Queen’s University Belfast.
October 11, 2017 / by / in

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