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Lack of a temporally stable genetic structure in the European eel: the panmixia hypothesis revisited
Uppsala University, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Population Biology.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-91042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-91042DiVA: diva2:163618
Available from: 2003-11-13 Created: 2003-11-13 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Genetic and Ecological Consequences of Fish Releases: With Focus on Supportive Breeding of Brown Trout Salmo trutta and Translocation of European Eel Anguilla anguilla
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic and Ecological Consequences of Fish Releases: With Focus on Supportive Breeding of Brown Trout Salmo trutta and Translocation of European Eel Anguilla anguilla
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although the practice of releasing fish into the wild is common in the management and conservation of fish populations, the success of release programmes and the potential harmful genetic and ecological effects that may follow are rarely considered. This thesis focuses on genetic and ecological consequences of fish releases, exemplified by supportive breeding of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and translocation of European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Specific questions addressed include: What is the relative performance of hatchery produced fish released to support wild populations, and do released hatchery fish contribute to the natural productivity? What is the variation in reproductive success in the wild, and how does it affect the genetic consequences of a supportive breeding programme? Is there a spatial genetic structure in the European eel that must be considered in the management of this rapidly declining species?

Experiments conducted under natural and near-natural conditions in the River Dalälven, Sweden, suggest that hatchery produced trout can reproduce in the wild. In fact, when the pronounced variation between individual breeders was accounted for, there were no detectable differences between hatchery produced and wild born trout in reproductive success or offspring survival. These results were supported by molecular genetic data suggesting a pronounced gene flow from hatchery to wild trout in the river. Hatchery reared trout were, however, found to exhibit reduced survival rates immediately following release into the wild, an effect that was most likely due to phenotypic responses to the hatchery environment during ontogeny and a lack of experience of the wild.

In sharp contrast to recently published studies, the present genetic analyses of European eels sampled across the whole distribution range suggest no spatial genetic structure but a subtle temporal genetic heterogeneity within sampled locations. These results emphasise the need to consider temporal replication when assessing population structure of marine species.

The results obtained have general implications for the management and conservation of fish populations. First, supportive breeding of threatened salmonid populations might be successful, not only for boosting the census size and thereby reducing the short-term probability of extinction, but also for reducing the risks of inbreeding depression and loss of adaptive potential in future generations. However, the results also highlight the need to restore the natural productivity of a population under supportive breeding to avoid a potential reduction in fitness due to hatchery selection. Further, the lack of a detectable spatial genetic structure in the European eel suggests that the management strategy of translocating juvenile eels from locations were they are overabundant to other suitable freshwater habitats does not necessarily have to include genetic considerations with respect to the geographical origin of the translocated eels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2003. 36 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 906
Biology, conservation, fishery management, panmixia, genetic variation, effective population size, hatchery selection, Biologi
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3764 (URN)91-554-5796-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2003-12-05, Ekman salen, Uppsala, 14:00
Available from: 2003-11-13 Created: 2003-11-13Bibliographically approved

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