Linking genetic assignment tests with telemetry enhances understanding of spawning migration and homing in sea trout Salmo trutta L.
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- Östergren, J., Nilsson, J. & Lundqvist, H. Hydrobiologia (2012) 691: 123. doi:10.1007/s10750-012-1063-7
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Telemetric and molecular techniques are powerful tools for investigating patterns of species dispersal, habitat use, and reproductive behavior. Yet, these methods are rarely combined when studying spatial structures of migrating animals. This study combines migration data with genetic assignment tests of radio-tagged sea trout, Salmo trutta L., in two Swedish rivers. We investigate how the genetic information enhances the interpretation of the telemetry data. Individual gene frequencies of tagged fish are assigned to baseline samples of brown trout collected in tributaries and the main stems. The genetic assignment tests confirm that individuals returned from the sea to their natal stream, but also suggest that some individuals migrated to other than their native habitat. In total, 82% (R. Piteälven) and 37% (R. Vindelälven) of fish that were successfully assigned to a sample in a baseline migrated to an area in the vicinity of the sample location. The difference between rivers is likely due to low genetic differentiation among baseline samples and effects of stocking of fish in the R. Vindelälven. Combining the two techniques enhances understanding of migration behavior, important for conservation and management.