, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 1-12

Co-existing populations of Pacific ocean perch, Sebastes alutus, in Queen Charlotte Sound, British Columbia

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Variation at five microsatellite loci (Sal1, Sal2, Sal3, Sal4 and Sal5) was examined in approximately 1300 Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) sampled from 14 coastal sites in British Columbia, Canada. Mean observed heterozygosities by locus ranged from 71% to 88%, and by sample ranged from 75% to 84%. Theta values ranged from 0 to 0.04 over the five loci, and averaged 0.015. Among Pacific ocean perch samples, θ ranged from 0.001 to 0.056. Canonical discriminate analysis of multilocus genotypes and neighbour-joining analysis of pairwise genetic distances between samples both indicated the presence of three populations, one off the west coast of Vancouver Island (the Vancouver Island population) and two co-existing populations in Queen Charlotte Sound, Dixon Entrance and along the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands (the eastern and western QCI populations). Pacific ocean perch of the eastern and western QCI populations were caught in close proximity to each other, but individual samples showed little evidence of admixture. Fall and spring samples collected within geographic areas were genetically similar, indicating seasonally stable population structure. Restricted gene flow between the Vancouver Island and the two more northerly populations may result from limited adult dispersal and larval retention within the California Current and Alaska Gyre, respectively, but the presence of two populations within Queen Charlotte Sound cannot be explained entirely by larval retention hypotheses. The presence of two Pacific ocean perch populations in central British Columbia has implications for fisheries management.

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