Although, perceiving genetic differences and their effects on fish population dynamics is difficult, simulation models offer a means to explore and illustrate these effects. I partitioned the intrinsic rate of increase parameter of a simple logistic-competition model into three components, allowing specification of effects of relative differences in fitness and mortality, as well as finite rate of increase. This model was placed into an interactive, stochastic environment to allow easy manipulation of model parameters (FITPOP). Simulation results illustrated the effects of subtle differences in genetic and population parameters on total population size, overall fitness, and sensitivity of the system to variability. Several consequences of mixing genetically distinct populations were illustrated. For example, behaviors such as depression of population size after initial introgression and extirpation of native stocks due to continuous stocking of genetically inferior fish were reproduced. It also was shown that carrying capacity relative to the amount of stocking had an important influence on population dynamics. Uncertainty associated with parameter estimates reduced confidence in model projections. The FITPOP model provided a simple tool to explore population dynamics, which may assist in formulating management strategies and identifying research needs.
Additional publication details
FITPOP, a heuristic simulation model of population dynamics and genetics with special reference to fisheries