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Population structure of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in a large glacial-fed lake inferred from microsatellite DNA and morphological analysis

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Understanding the structure of intraspecific genetic and morphological diversity within and across habitats is a fundamental aspect of biodiversity research with conservation value. Atlin Lake is the largest lake in British Columbia, Canada, and contains relatively pristine populations of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) that are key components of the lake’s fish community and local fisheries. Lake trout from Atlin Lake were examined for genetic and phenotypic variation using eight microsatellite DNA loci, body form, and colouration. Genetic assays were also conducted on lake trout from the adjoining Tagish Lake and from 17 other localities to provide spatial context for the variation within Atlin Lake. The genetic data suggested that there were three genetic subpopulations within the Atlin–Tagish lake system. Morphological analysis identified two morphological groups of lake trout within Atlin Lake. Genetic and morphological groupings in Atlin Lake were not associated with each other. A mixed-stock analysis of samples collected from Atlin Lake commercial and recreational fisheries suggested that all genetic subpopulations contributed to the fishery and that there was some contribution from fish originating from within Tagish Lake.

La compréhension de la structure de la diversité intraspécifique génétique et morphologique au sein des habitats et entre les habitats est une composante essentielle de la recherche sur la biodiversité reliée à la conservation. Le lac Atlin est le plus grand lac de la Colombie-Britannique, Canada, et il contient des populations de touladis (Salvelinus namaycush) encore relativement dans leur état originel qui forment une composante essentielle de la communauté de poissons du lac et de la pêche locale. Nous avons examiné la variation génétique et phénotypique des touladis du lac Atlin à l'étude de huit locus microsatellites d’ADN, de la forme corporelle et de la coloration. Nous avons aussi procédé à des analyses génétiques des touladis du lac Tagish voisin et de 17 autres localités pour obtenir un contexte spatial pour étudier la variation au sein du lac Atlin. Les données génétiques indiquent qu’il existe trois sous-populations génétiques dans le réseau des lacs Atlin et Tagish. L’analyse morphologique a permis d’identifier deux groupes morphologiques de touladis dans le lac Atlin. Les regroupements génétiques et morphologiques dans le lac Atlin ne sont pas associés l’un à l’autre. Une analyse de stock mixte d’échantillons récoltés dans les pêches commerciales et sportives au lac Atlin montre que toutes les sous-populations génétiques contribuent à la pêche et qu’il y a une certaine contribution des poissons provenant du lac Tagish.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 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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