Become a Citizen Scientist

You don’t have to be a scientist to contribute meaningful data to cutting edge research…

Projects at the University of Montana and the Flathead Lake Biological Station that are dedicated to trout conservation need your help in collecting valuable samples.

well plate for genetic analysis

96 well plate used in gentic analyses

Demonstration of electric fishing gear

Field sampling with electrofishing gear

In order to answer questions about trout species in Montana, we need DNA samples from individuals so that they can be analyzed. This comes in the form of a fin clip. While fishing, we ask that you take a very small piece of fin tissue from individuals that you have legally caught and are planning to keep. These samples will be sent to us in small vials of ethanol that will be provided. If possible, the length of the fish you sample from should be measured, and a clear picture should be taken.

Cutthroat trout being released
 Cutthroat tout(Oncorhynchus clarkii)
image of trout being released
Release of sampled trout by trained professional

Remember! The health of the fish is more important than the sample, so we ask that the well-being of the fish takes top priority.

Sampling Protocol

Image steps:

handling a fish over a test bucket
Step 1) Handle the fish
taking a fin clip of the caudal fin
Step 2) Take a fin clip
transfering the fin clip without touching it
Step 3) Transfer the fin clip
transfering the fin clip to a sterile container
Step 4) Secure the fin clip
measuring the fish in a half tube
Step 5) Obtain length measurements
taking a picture of the fish
Step 6) Take an informative, detailed picture
record the the data for each sample
Step 7) Accurately record data for each sample
Label the container with the clipping sample
Step 8) Add labels and return sample to the lab

If you’d like to be a part of conserving our native fish and answering important ecological questions about the Pacific Northwest, become a citizen scientist today! Email Gordon Luikat with “citizen science” in the subject line, and one of our research members will be in touch to help you get started.

Thank you for your interest in conserving Montana’s native fish we look forward to working with you as a citizen scientist!