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.

wellplate efish
 96 well plate used in gentic analyses        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.

cutthroatfishrelease   Cutthroat tout(Oncorhynchus clarkii)      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

Sampling protocols are detailed in our training video, available at this link. In the video, you will learn how to efficiently and effectively.  Follow these easy steps.
fish step 1fish step 2          Handle the fish                                       Take a fin clip

fish step 1fish step 2          Transfer the fin clip                                  Secure the fin clip 

fish step 1fish step 2          Obtain length measurements                  Take an informative, detailed picture 

fish step 1fish step 2          Accurately record data for each sample    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!




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