Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism

Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Lee Banville

Commitee Members

Len Broberg, Keith Graham


conservation genetics, aquatic invasive species, chinook salmon, westslope cutthroat trout, environmental DNA, genetic rescue


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biodiversity | Communication | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Studies | Genetics and Genomics


Conservation genetics stands out as an effective tool for discovering and monitoring rare, endangered or invasive populations of plants and animals. Particularly when compared to traditional search and capture methods, it provides more holistic studies to preserve the disappearing biodiversity of the American West and the world.

Three stories highlight the work done to preserve biodiversity through the use of conservation genetics:

1. Trout Rescue: A new hope for westslope cutthroat in Montana How to save a disappearing westslope cutthroat trout through genetic rescue by adding genetic diversity to ensuring future survival in increasingly warming waters more harm than good.

2. New Invaders, New Solutions: Tracking invasive species movements with environmental DNA

Tracking the struggle to stop the spread of invasive species in Montana and the West through a process called environmental DNA, which can find if a single cell of an organism is carried in a drop of water.

3. The True Home of Alaskan Salmon: DNA reveals surprising insight into the birthplace of America’s most consumed fish

How finding where a salmon was born through DNA brings up complex questions about sustainability and labeling of fish sold in grocery stores and restaurants.

(Extended project is online at:



© Copyright 2016 Kenneth W. Rand