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New Program Manager for Genetics

April 07, 2020

NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce the selection of Wes Larson as the new manager for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Genetics Program at Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau.


Prior to joining the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Larson served as the Assistant Unit Leader of the USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Institute.  He started his new position with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center on March 1.

Larson received his BS from the University of California-Santa Cruz and his PhD from the University of Washington. His PhD focused on applying genomic tools to study local adaptation and inform management of Pacific salmon in Alaska. In particular, he investigated genomic differentiation of Chinook salmon from western Alaska and genetic divergence of different ecotypes of sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay. More recently, Larson led a genetics research program in Wisconsin with the goal of conducting research to inform fisheries management. 

Some highlights of his research in Wisconsin include exploring the utility of eDNA metabarcoding for diversity assessments, using parentage analysis to investigate mating strategies and reproductive success, and developing high-throughput genomic tools to conduct genetic stock identification for Great Lakes fisheries.

Larson grew up around the ocean in San Diego, CA. During his childhood, he fished, snorkeled, kayaked, and generally spent as much time around the ocean as possible. As a teenager, he worked as a deckhand on a sportfishing boat where he was exposed to the concepts of harvest regulation and sustainable fisheries management. He studied marine biology during his undergrad at UC-Santa Cruz and spent his free time scuba diving and spearfishing in Monterey. During his PhD, Larson was fortunate enough to spend parts of five summers in Bristol Bay where he formed a deep connection to the incredible fisheries resources in the Bay and to Alaska in general. 

Larson is excited about expanding the genomic capabilities of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Collaboration is one of Larson’s  favorite parts about science and he can’t wait to work with Center scientists on exciting and useful projects that inform management of some of the largest fisheries in the world.

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on May 07, 2020

Research in Alaska