Reduced connectivity created by artificial barriers can influence the genetic integrity of isolated subpopulations by reducing local population sizes and altering patterns of gene flow. We investigated the genetic impacts of one such barrier, the Prairie du Sac dam, Wisconsin, USA, using microsatellite data from six fish species with varying life history traits sampled above and below the dam. Contrary to many past studies in other systems, we did not detect any significant differences in genetic diversity between populations found above and below the Prairie du Sac dam. Our results also revealed low genetic differentiation (FST = 0–0.008) between populations above and below the dam for all species. In fact, we found that more genetic variation was partitioned among sampling years than between above and below dam populations for all but one of the species. Results from coalescent simulations designed to model our study system indicated that the genetic impacts of the dam will likely be detectable approximately 40–60 generations after the dam was constructed, and that it is possible to largely mitigate these impacts with a fish passage strategy that facilitates a migration rate of ≥ 1% between above and below dam populations. In summary, our findings suggest the genetic impacts of dams can be relatively minimal on short time scales, and that fish passage strategies can significantly reduce genetic impacts if designed appropriately.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Isolation by a hydroelectric dam induces minimal impacts on genetic diversity and population structure in six fish species|
|Series title||Conservation Genetics|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|
|Other Geospatial||Wisconsin River|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|