, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 897-906
Date: 23 May 2009

Management units of brown trout from Galicia (NW: Spain) based on spatial genetic structure analysis

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Population genetic structure approaches offer the possibility of defining management units in conservation activities of species. The genetic structure of the brown trout Salmo trutta in Galicia (NW Spain) was investigated by using microsatellites. We determined genetic variation across 10 microsatellite loci of 901 individuals from 30 geographical populations representing 18 river basins. The analysis of the spatial distribution of the genetic variation by using different methods clearly revealed strong genetic differentiation among two groups of populations living in the studied area. This result is concordant with previous work using allozymes and mtDNA markers, and confirms a secondary contact among two highly differentiated evolutionary lineages in Miño Basin. Although both lineages might be locally adapted, results suggest that they hybridize at the middle course of the river. The brown trout from the Upper Miño Basin belongs to the previously described Duero lineage, an Iberian endemism threatened by introgression with other Atlantic forms. The results support the recognition of the Upper Miño Basin as a particular biotic region in Galicia. This study illustrates how a multidisciplinary approach in spatial genetic analysis contributes to the delineation of conservation units as conspecific metapopulations.