Using the Distinct Population Segment concept to protect fishes with low levels of genomic differentiation: conservation of an endemic minnow (Hitch, Lavinia exilicauda)
In the United States, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 was enacted to conserve species which are endangered or threatened throughout all or a portion of their range. The definition of ‘species’ includes subspecies and distinct population segments (DPSs). In freshwater fishes, use of DPS designations has largely been restricted to salmonid fishes (Salmonidae), although the DPS concept is increasingly applied to other fishes as well. As more taxa approach threatened status, the difficult question becomes what to do when genetic evidence does not strongly support formal taxonomic designations (full species or subspecies). We examine the potential use of the DPS concept to protect fishes using the example of Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda), a cyprinid fish endemic to California. The Hitch is divided up into three formally described, geographically separated subspecies. However, genomic studies (RADseq), presented here with three independent analyses using a large data set, only weakly support subspecies designations. Results suggest population but not subspecies structure. Nevertheless, conventional taxonomic methods, strong contemporary isolation, the importance of protecting genetic diversity, and high cultural values still qualify all three designated subspecies for DPS status and demonstrate how taxa such as Clear Lake Hitch can warrant protection under the ESA.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Using the Distinct Population Segment concept to protect fishes with low levels of genomic differentiation: conservation of an endemic minnow (Hitch, Lavinia exilicauda)|
|Series title||Transactions of the American Fisheries Society|
|Publisher||American Fisheries Society|
|Contributing office(s)||California Water Science Center|