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Genetic population structure of broad whitefish, Coregonus nasus, from the Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories: implications for subsistence fishery management

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We assayed microsatellite DNA variation among 1013 broad whitefish, Coregonus nasus, from 36 localities within the lower Mackenzie River (Northwest Territories, Canada) to provide the first assessment of fine-scale population structuring of broad whitefish in this large system. Among sampling locations, averaged across all loci, the number of alleles ranged from 3.00 to 6.71 and heterozygosity averaged 0.54. Population subdivision was generally low, but significant ( = 0.026, P< 0.05), although pairwise comparisons indicated that overall significance was heavily influenced by comparisons between anadromous and lacustrine groups. Bayesian-based STRUCTURE analysis suggested that there are two main genetic groups within our study area: anadromous and lacustrine broad whitefish. A mixture analysis indicated that all populations contribute to the lower Mackenzie River subsistence fishery, yet catches were dominated by Peel River fish, highlighting the importance of this tributary. Our data also supported the idea that there are several units of conservation among Mackenzie River system broad whitefish populations and that management strategies should be implemented accordingly.

Nous avons évalué la variation de l’ADN des microsatellites chez 1013 corégones tschir, Coregonus nasus, de 36 sites sur le cours inférieur du Mackenzie (Territoires du Nord-Ouest, Canada) afin d’obtenir une première évaluation de la structure à échelle fine de la population de ces corégones dans ce grand réseau hydrographique. Pour l’ensemble des sites d’échantillonnage, le nombre moyen d’allèles pour tous les locus varie de 3,00 à 6,71 et l’hétérozygotie moyenne est de 0,54. La subdivision de la population est généralement faible, mais significative ( = 0,026, P< 0,05), bien que des comparaisons appariées indiquent que la signification statistique globale est fortement influencée par les comparaisons entre les groupes anadromes et lacustres. Une analyse STRUCTURE de type bayésien laisse croire qu’il y a deux groupes génétiques principaux dans notre région d’étude, les corégones tschir anadromes et les lacustres. Une analyse de mélange indique que toutes les populations contribuent à la pêche de subsistance dans le cours inférieur du Mackenzie, bien que les captures soient dominées par les poissons de la rivière Peel, ce qui souligne l’importance de ce tributaire. Nos données appuient aussi la proposition qu’il existe plusieurs unités de conservation au sein des populations de corégones tschir du réseau du Mackenzie et que les stratégies d’aménagement devraient en tenir compte.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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