In Lake Baikal, three morphotypes of omul Coregonus autumnalis migratorius are recognized; the littoral, pelagic, and deep-water forms. Morphotype assignment is difficult, and similar to that encountered in pelagic and deep-water coregonines in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Principal component analysis revealed separation of all three morphotypes based on caudal peduncle length and depth, length and depth of the body between the dorsal and anal fin, and distance between the pectoral and pelvic fins. Strong negative loadings were associated with head measurements. Omul of the same morphotype captured at different locations were classified to location of capture using step-wise discriminant function analysis. Jackknife correct classifications ranged from 43 to 78% for littoral omul from five locations, and 45-86% for pelagic omul from four locations. Patterns of local misclassification of littoral omul suggested that the sub-population structure, hence stock affinity, may be influenced by movements and intermixing of individuals among areas that are joined bathymetrically. Pelagic omul were more distinguishable by site and may support a previous hypothesis of a spawning based rather than a foraging-based sub-population structure. Omul morphotypes may reflect adaptations to both ecological and local environmental conditions, and may have a genetic basis.
Additional publication details
Stock structure of Lake Baikal omul as determined by whole-body morphology