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The influence of hydrology and waterway distance on population structure of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in a large river

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Adult Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha navigate in river systems using olfactory cues that may be influenced by hydrologic factors such as flow and the number, size and spatial distribution of tributaries. Thus, river hydrology may influence both homing success and the level of straying (gene flow), which in turn influences population structure. In this study, two methods of multivariate analysis were used to examine the extent to which four indicators of hydrology and waterway distance explained population structure of O. tshawytscha in the Yukon River. A partial Mantel test showed that the indicators of hydrology were positively associated with broad-scale (Yukon basin) population structure, when controlling for the influence of waterway distance. Multivariate multiple regression showed that waterway distance, supplemented with the number and flow of major drainage basins, explained more variation in broad-scale population structure than any single indicator. At an intermediate spatial scale, indicators of hydrology did not appear to influence population structure after accounting for waterway distance. These results suggest that habitat changes in the Yukon River, which alter hydrology, may influence the basin-wide pattern of population structure in O. tshawytscha. Further research is warranted on the role of hydrology in concert with waterway distance in influencing population structure in Pacific salmon.
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Keywords: Chinook salmon; Yukon River; hydrology; isolation-by-distance

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7, Canada 2: Conservation Genetics Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Region, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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