Temporal analysis shows relaxed genetic erosion following improved stocking practices in a subarctic transnational brown trout population
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionKlütsch, C. F. C., Maduna, S. N., Polikarpova, N., Forfang, K., Beddari, B., Gjelland, K. Ø., … Hagen, S. B. (2021). Temporal analysis shows relaxed genetic erosion following improved stocking practices in a subarctic transnational brown trout population. Scientific Reports, 11(1). 10.1038/s41598-021-96681-1
Maintaining standing genetic variation is a challenge in human-dominated landscapes. We used genetic (i.e., 16 short tandem repeats) and morphological (i.e., length and weight) measurements of 593 contemporary and historical brown trout (Salmo trutta) samples to study fine-scale and short-term impacts of different management practices. These had changed from traditional breeding practices, using the same broodstock for several years, to modern breeding practices, including annual broodstock replacement, in the transnational subarctic Pasvik River. Using population genetic structure analyses (i.e., Bayesian assignment tests, DAPCs, and PCAs), four historical genetic clusters (E2001A-D), likely representing family lineages resulting from different crosses, were found in zone E. These groups were characterized by consistently lower genetic diversity, higher within-group relatedness, lower effective population size, and significantly smaller body size than contemporary stocked (E2001E) and wild fish (E2001F). However, even current breeding practices are insufficient to prevent genetic diversity loss and morphological changes as demonstrated by on average smaller body sizes and recent genetic bottleneck signatures in the modern breeding stock compared to wild fish. Conservation management must evaluate breeding protocols for stocking programs and assess if these can preserve remaining natural genetic diversity and morphology in brown trout for long-term preservation of freshwater fauna.