Chante Davis is a PhD candidate at Oregon State University, a partner of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center. As a recipient of a GRTSP scholarship, Chante reported that the funds will enable her to complete her dissertation using graph theory in riverscape genetics to understand the population differentiation of Chinook salmon in the Siletz River, Oregon.
Chante gained technical and theoretical experience understanding the life histories of organisms through coursework and research during her Master’s thesis, completed in 2006 at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) at California State University Monterey Bay, in collaboration with Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC).
As a Graduate Research Assistant, Chante worked on a contract for the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians (CTSI). This project involved two Salmonids and two life history phases: adult Chinook, juvenile Chinook and adult steelhead. She worked with state and tribal agencies and brought organizations together to share resources and results, using genetic tools (microsatellites) to determine the population structure of adult Chinook within Siletz River. The results characterized genetically distinct Chinook subpopulations within the system and Chante has used this simple population characterization as part of her Ph.D. dissertation research to further investigate the unique populations within a watershed.
Chante’s research will bring together theory and analysis from landscape ecology, population genetics and spatial analysis to determine which environmental variables within the riverscape have contributed to the genetic isolation of each subpopulation. The results of her research will enable managers to better understand the habitat components currently impacting genetic diversity and the ability of a salmon stock to respond to changing environmental conditions.