A research award targeted at early-career researchers has been granted to Dr Joshka Kaufmann of the Marine Institute in Newport to investigate and predict how quickly natural Atlantic salmon evolve to human-driven environmental change.

The SFI-IRC Pathway programme, a new collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC), has been awarded to Dr Kaufmann to conduct state-of-the-art research at the Institute on the evolutionary potential of natural populations of Atlantic salmon in Ireland. 

As current rates of planetary stress are leading to unprecedented declines in natural populations, understanding the potential of iconic species such as the Atlantic salmon to adapt to human impacts has become crucial for their preservation and management. 

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services of the Marine Institute says the Marine Institute Newport research station in the Burrishoole catchment is a proven long-term natural observatory and an index Irish Atlantic salmon population. The systematic monitoring and sampling of salmon in the Burrishoole system (Co. Mayo) since 1958 provides a unique opportunity to link temporal changes in size, demography and genetic makeup of salmon with climate change, overfishing and mixing with cultured fish. 

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