Organized in 2015, Citizen Salmon is a community of curious citizen scientists who are interested in understanding the origins of the salmon we find in our markets and restaurants. Why? Salmon are vital to Cascadia! They are a staple of our diet, a key export, and a cultural icon of the Pacific Northwest region.
We conduct most of our lab work at SoundBio, a DIY biology lab located in Seattle, Washington.
Citizen Salmon has two major components:
- Bioinformatics: Identifying the most informative genes by manipulating large amounts of Salmon data provided in previous papers.
- Lab techniques: Developing quick and cost-effective protocols to extract salmon DNA and genotype samples.
We recognize the importance of acquiring knowledge about our food for the sake of ecological health. Tracking specific bioindicator species is a technique used to assess the status of a select ecosystem or measure the quality of a particular environment. King Salmon (or Chinook) is a bioindicator species heavily impacted by human activity¹. Several salmon species have supported large commercial and tribal subsistence harvests here in the Pacific Northwest, and all are highly valued².
By accomplishing our goals of 1) identifying the origin of 50 King Salmon populations, 2) developing a database of salmon genotypes, and 3) creating a “DIY genotyping kit” to determine the origin of salmon on our dinner plates, we can use citizen science to further advance public understanding of salmon populations, and recovery efforts.