Sibship reconstruction for inferring mating systems, dispersal and effective population size in headwater brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations

Conservation Genetics
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Abstract

Brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis populations have declined in much of the native range in eastern North America and populations are typically relegated to small headwater streams in Connecticut, USA. We used sibship reconstruction to infer mating systems, dispersal and effective population size of resident (non-anadromous) brook trout in two headwater stream channel networks in Connecticut. Brook trout were captured via backpack electrofishing using spatially continuous sampling in the two headwaters (channel network lengths of 4.4 and 7.7 km). Eight microsatellite loci were genotyped in a total of 740 individuals (80–140 mm) subsampled in a stratified random design from all 50 m-reaches in which trout were captured. Sibship reconstruction indicated that males and females were both mostly polygamous although single pair matings were also inferred. Breeder sex ratio was inferred to be nearly 1:1. Few large-sized fullsib families (>3 individuals) were inferred and the majority of individuals were inferred to have no fullsibs among those fish genotyped (family size = 1). The median stream channel distance between pairs of individuals belonging to the same large-sized fullsib families (>3 individuals) was 100 m (range: 0–1,850 m) and 250 m (range: 0–2,350 m) in the two study sites, indicating limited dispersal at least for the size class of individuals analyzed. Using a sibship assignment method, the effective population size for the two streams was estimated at 91 (95%CI: 67–123) and 210 (95%CI: 172–259), corresponding to the ratio of effective-to-census population size of 0.06 and 0.12, respectively. Both-sex polygamy, low variation in reproductive success, and a balanced sex ratio may help maintain genetic diversity of brook trout populations with small breeder sizes persisting in headwater channel networks.

 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sibship reconstruction for inferring mating systems, dispersal and effective population size in headwater brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations
Series title Conservation Genetics
DOI 10.1007/s10592-010-0166-9
Volume 12
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers
Description 10 p.
First page 619
Last page 628
Country United States
State Connecticut
Other Geospatial Jefferson Hill-Spruce Brook, Kent Falls Brook
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N