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Inter- and intra-population morphological differences between wild and farmed Atlantic salmon juveniles

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Whether population-specific morphological differences were detectable in small (26–52 mm) Atlantic salmon Salmo salar parr reared under similar conditions was tested. Discrimination based on morphological characters was total (100%) between the fish of farmed origin (from AquaGen) and four wild fish populations. Between the four wild populations the corresponding discrimination was 59·8–86·3%. The inter-population variation in morphological characters was larger than the intra-population variation. The fish originating from the local populations at Driva and Innfjord were narrower in body form, whereas fish from the AquaGen and Innfjord populations had smaller and less pointed heads with smaller eyes. The Driva population fish had the smallest mouth while the longest pectoral fin was found in the Bjoreio population, the river that also has the largest fall gradient. Population-specific morphological characters were thus detectable among Atlantic salmon parr relatively rapidly after yolk absorption.

Keywords: Salmo salar; evolutionary significant unit (ESU); morphology; phenotypic plasticity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology—NTNU, Realfagbygget, 7491 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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