We analyzed 13 microsatellite loci to estimate gene flow among westslope cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi, populations and determine the invasion pattern of hybrids between native O. c. lewisi and introduced rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, in streams of the upper Flathead River system, Montana (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Fourteen of 31 sites lacked evidence of O. mykiss introgression, and gene flow among these nonhybridized O. c. lewisi populations was low, as indicated by significant allele frequency divergence among populations (?ST = 0.076, ?ST = 0.094, P < 0.001). Among hybridized sites, O. mykiss admixture declined with upstream distance from a site containing a hybrid swarm with a predominant (92%) O. mykiss genetic contribution. The spatial distribution of hybrid genotypes at seven diagnostic microsatellite loci revealed that O. mykiss invasion is facilitated by both long distance dispersal from this hybrid swarm and stepping-stone dispersal between hybridized populations. This study provides an example of how increased straying rates in the invasive taxon can contribute to the spread of extinction by hybridization and suggests that eradicating sources of introgression may be a useful conservation strategy for protecting species threatened with genomic extinction. ?? 2008 NRC.
Additional Publication Details
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) invasion and the spread of hybridization with native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi)
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences