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Evidence of two contrasting brown trout Salmo trutta populations spatially separated in the River Borne (France) and shift in management towards conservation of the native lineage

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Abstract:

A multidisciplinary study was made of brown trout Salmo trutta in the Borne River, a typical fast-flowing mountain stream in the Northern French Alps, in the geographical range of the Mediterranean lineages (ML). Information on (1) the proportion of stocked fluoro-marked fish in the angling harvest, (2) the introgression of introduced DNA microsatellite alleles into the native gene pool and (3) the demography of the population in situ in autumn revealed two contrasting populations separated by a physical barrier to upstream migration. A native S. trutta population (c. 10 000 adults) lives downstream of the barrier and is characterized by a large frequency of ML alleles (82–97%) and high densities (43–55 fish 100 m−2). This population is maintained predominantly by natural recruitment of juveniles (51–82%). In contrast, the upstream population is characterized by a large frequency of Atlantic lineage (AL) alleles (78–100%) and low densities (1–2 fish 100 m−2) and appears to be maintained by restocking (90–100%). The origins of these sharply contrasting populations appear to reflect isolation by an impassable barrier, catastrophic flooding, a downstream gradient in water quality, stocking and fishing pressure. The native downstream population has been resilient to large sudden floods and to intensive stockings of domesticated AL fish. The results of this study justify a shift in management towards conservation and rehabilitation of the native population.

Keywords: conservation; freshwater; genetic; microsatellite; otolith; trout

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.02168.x

Affiliations: 1: INRA-CARRTEL, BP 511, 74203 Thonon Cedex, France 2: INRA Laboratoire de génétique des Poissons, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy en Josas, France

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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