Whirling disease and Mountain Whitefish
Though numerous studies have explored the sensitivity of various trout subspecies to whirling disease, little has been done with mountain whitefish despite being one of only two salmonids native to Colorado. Recent declines in mountain whitefish populations in the Yampa River have been blamed on predation by northern pike and drought-induced low river flows, particularly in the summer of 2002. However, whirling disease also invaded this drainage in the late 1990s. This study was conducted to examine the role whirling disease might have played in the decline of Yampa River mountain whitefish populations.
Vulnerability to whirling disease is being explored by raising captive mountain whitefish fry, exposing them to known quantities of the parasite, then evaluating survival and subsequent infection. This research is ongoing.