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Microgeographic population structure of brook charr: a comparison of microsatellite and mark-recapture data

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Polymorphism at five microsatellite genetic markers (genotyped n = 496) and mark-recapture tagging data (tagged n = 9813) were used to define the population structure of brook charr, Salvelinus fontinalis from the Indian Bay watershed, Newfoundland, Canada. Despite the absence of physical barriers to migration among lakes, both genetic and tagging data suggest that brook charr in each lake represent reproductively isolated populations. Exact tests comparing allele frequencies, θ (global value = 0·063), Rst (global value = 0·052), individual assignment tests, and Nei's genetic distance provided congruent estimates of population subdivision in agreement with the tagging data (only 2·2% of recaptures were lake-to-lake). The genetic structure of the brook charr populations corresponded with the geographic structure of the drainage basin on a qualitative level, although linear distance over water was not significantly correlated with the tagging data or the genetic distance measures. The agreement between the tagging and the genetic data suggest that microsatellite markers can be useful tools for defining real biological units. The results also suggest that brook charr exhibit microgeographic population structure at the watershed scale, and that this is the scale at which conservation and management of this salmonid might best be implemented.
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Keywords: brook charr; genetic distance; genetic structure; microsatellite; migration rate; tagging

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4J1, Canada

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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