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Allozyme variation in Atlantic salmon from the British Isles: associations with geography and the environment

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Data on geographical variation in allele frequencies at enzyme coding loci in Atlantic salmon from the British Isles were collated from published and unpublished sources. Statistically significant differences in allele frequencies were found among samples both within and among river systems, suggesting that the Atlantic salmon in the British Isles is not a panmictic population and that even within major river systems it cannot be treated as a single genetic stock for fisheries management purposes. Although there was some evidence of regional differences in the frequency of some rare alleles, most single‐locus variation did not show strong geographic patterns, with the exception of the AAT‐4* locus at which allele frequencies had a significant latitudinal cline. There was some evidence for the existence of genetically‐distinct celtic and boreal races of Atlantic salmon in the British Isles as previously has been suggested. Multiple regression analyses revealed associations between genetic variation and local environmental conditions (i.e. between variation at MEP‐2* and both temperature and local river gradient), providing additional evidence for adaptive population divergence in the species.

Keywords: Atlantic salmon; allozymes; natural selection; population structure

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology, National University of Ireland, Lee Maltings, Prospect Row, Cork, Ireland, 2: Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, Fisheries Research Laboratory, Coleraine BTS2 3TA, U.K., 3: School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen's University, Belfast BT7 1NN, U.K., 4: School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K., 5: Aquaculture and Catchment Management Services, Marine Institute, Furnace, Newport, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 6: Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, U.K. and 7: Fisheries Research Services, Freshwater Laboratory, Faskally, Pitlochry PH16 5LB, U.K.

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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