Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wisconsin Fishery
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wisconsin Fishery Project

Investigating the relationship between gill lice prevalence and genetic diversity in brook trout across Wisconsin

July 2016 - June 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Gill lice are a major threat for brook trout populations throughout Wisconsin. Previous studies have suggested a link between genetic diversity and the prevalence of pathogens such as gill lice. Specifically, multiple studies have correlated pathogen prevalence with diversity at the genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) or with certain alleles at this gene. The MHC is an important component of the vertebrate immune system that is involved in the recognition of pathogens. Research on this gene over the last four decades has proven extremely fruitful and has often shown that certain MHC alleles are correlate with the presence/absence of certain pathogens. The overall goal of this research is to investigate the possible relationship between MHC variation and the prevalence of gill lice in brook trout.