, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 1321-1336
Date: 24 Oct 2008

Population genetic structure and ancestry of Oncorhynchus mykiss populations above and below dams in south-central California

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Genetic analyses of coastal Oncorhynchus mykiss, commonly known as steelhead/rainbow trout, at the southern extreme of their geographic range in California are used to evaluate ancestry and genetic relationships of populations both above and below large dams. Juvenile fish from 20 locations and strains of rainbow trout commonly planted in reservoirs in the five study basins were evaluated at 24 microsatellite loci. Phylogeographic trees and analysis of molecular variance demonstrated that populations within a basin, both above and below dams, were generally each other’s closest relatives. Absence of hatchery fish or their progeny in the tributaries above dams indicates that they are not commonly spawning and that above-barrier fish are descended from coastal steelhead trapped at dam construction. Finally, no genetic basis was found for the division of populations from this region into two distinct biological groups, contrary to current classification under the US and California Endangered Species Acts.