Rehabilitation of migratory ('coaster') brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis along Lake Superior's south shore is a topic of high interest among resource stakeholders and management agencies. Proposed strategies for rehabilitation of this brook trout life history variant in Wisconsin include supplemental stocking, watershed management, habitat rehabilitation, harvest regulations, or a combination thereof. In an effort to evaluate the success of coaster brook trout rehabilitation efforts, we collected genetic data from four populations of interest (Whittlesey Creek, Bois Brule River, Bark River, and Graveyard Creek) and the hatchery sources used in the Whittlesey Creek supplementation experiment. We characterized the genetic diversity of 30 individuals from each of four populations using 13 microsatellite DNA loci. Levels of genetic variation were consistent with those in similar studies conducted throughout the basin. Significant genetic variation among the populations was observed, enabling adequate population delineation through assignment tests. Overall, 208 of the 211 sampled fish (98.6%) were correctly assigned to their population of origin. Simulated F1 hybrids between two hatchery strains and the Whittlesey Creek population were identifiable in the majority of attempts (90.5-100% accuracy with 0-2.5% error). The genetic markers and analytical techniques described provide the ability to monitor the concurrent coaster brook trout rehabilitation efforts along Wisconsin's Lake Superior south shore, including the detection of hybridization between hatchery and native populations. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2008.
Additional publication details
Genetic identity of brook trout in Lake Superior south shore streams: Potential for genetic monitoring of stocking and rehabilitation efforts