Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) range across the North Pacific, from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to Japan, California, and Alaska. This highly migratory species breeds on islands in the central Pacific. While foraging at sea, thousands are killed in longline and trawl fisheries as bycatch.
Sequencing data from breeding colonies will be used to identify fine-scale structure and adaptive variation to inform efforts to preserve the full diversity of this species. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data will inform genetic stock identification (GSI) of more than 700 albatross bycatch samples preserved over the past 10 years. Allele frequencies will help assign the bycatch samples to natal breeding colonies.
Ultimately, we will design markers for genotyping bycatch, to inform colony-specific threats and opportunities for targeted fisheries management. This project will be the first to empirically evaluate the impact of fisheries-caused mortality to individual Black-footed albatross colonies. It will also provide fisheries managers with previously unattainable information on bycatch.
Special thanks to the partners that support Wild Genomes:
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