Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1559–1565 | Cite as

Effective size of an Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) metapopulation in Northern Spain

  • Anna KuparinenEmail author
  • Jarle Tufto
  • Sonia Consuegra
  • Kjetil Hindar
  • Juha Merilä
  • Carlos Garcia de Leaniz
Short communication


The genetic diversity of metapopulations is influenced not only by the effective sizes (N e ) of individual subpopulations, but also by the total effective size of the metapopulation (meta-N e ). We estimated meta-N e of four neighbouring Atlantic salmon populations connected by gene flow using genetic estimates of subpopulation N e s and migration rates derived from capture–recapture data. The \( meta{\hbox{-}}\hat{N}_{e} \) was lower than the sum of \( \hat{N}_{e} \)s of the subpopulations, suggesting that genetic diversity harboured by the four river salmon metapopulation is lower than what would have been expected by viewing individual subpopulations separately. In addition, \( meta{\hbox{-}}\hat{N}_{e} \) was found to be sensitive to changes in \( \hat{N}_{e} \) of the subpopulation from which net emigration rate was largest, so as that the genetic diversity of the metapopulation would be best preserved by avoiding any reductions in N e of this subpopulation. Yet, this subpopulation is the one that has historically—and still is—experiencing the highest exploitation rate in the metapopulation system.


Atlantic salmon Conservation Effective population size Fisheries Metapopulation Salmo salar L. 



We thank ESF Conservation Genetics program and Academy of Finland for financial support. We thank Daniel Ruzzante and two anonymous referees for their comments on the earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Kuparinen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jarle Tufto
    • 2
  • Sonia Consuegra
    • 3
  • Kjetil Hindar
    • 4
  • Juha Merilä
    • 1
  • Carlos Garcia de Leaniz
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Mathematical SciencesNorwegian University of Sciences and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural SciencesAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythUK
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)TrondheimNorway
  5. 5.School of the Environment and Society, Institute of Environmental SustainabilitySwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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