Conservation Genetics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 933–951 | Cite as

Population structure, inbreeding and local adaptation within an endangered riverine specialist: the nase (Chondrostoma nasus)

  • Alan G. Hudson
  • Pascal Vonlanthen
  • Ole Seehausen
Research Article


Chondrostoma nasus is a cyprinid fish with highly specialized, ecologically and geographically distinct, ontogenetic trophic niches. Nase population numbers across their Swiss range have shown massive declines and many localized extinctions. In this study, we integrate genetic data (AFLP, microsatellite, mtDNA sequence) with phenotypic and demographic analyses to survey patterns of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity in all extant (and one extinct) Swiss nase populations, with the aim to delineate intraspecific conservation units (CUs) and to inform future population management strategies. We discovered two major genetically and geographically distinct population groupings. The first population grouping comprises nase inhabiting rivers flowing into Lake Constance; the second comprises nase populations from Rhine drainages below Lake Constance. Within these clusters there is generally limited genetic differentiation among populations. Genomic outlier scans based on 256 to 377 polymorphic AFLP loci revealed little evidence of local adaptation both within and among population clusters, with the exception of one candidate locus identified in scans involving the low genetic diversity Schanzengraben population. However, significant phenotypic differentiation in body shape between certain populations suggests a need for more intensive future studies of local adaptation. Our data strongly suggests that the two major population groups should be treated as distinct CUs, with any supplemental stocking and reintroductions sourced only from within the range of the CU concerned.


Chondrostoma nasus Conservation genomics Local adaptation Population genomics Outlier scans Adaptive potential Conservation units (CUs) 



We kindly acknowledge for providing samples: Dr. Arthur Kirchhofer for historical Sense samples, Dr. Wolfgang Mark for Danubian samples, Franck Bonell for Dornbirner Ach samples, Dr. Caroline Costedoat for P. toxosoma samples. We thank Dr. Michel Dedual, Franck Bonell for performing the aging on scales. We thank Salome Mwaiko, Isabel Magalhaes, Andreas Taverna, Guy Périat, Brigitte Germann, Denise Weibel, Sabina Käppeli, Bänz Lundsgaard-Hansen, Denis Roy, Kay Lucek, Andreas Hertig, Rachel Tucker, Markus Grünenfelder, Martin Huber-Gysi, Daniel Zopfi, Fredi Fehr, Michael Kugler for their assistance. We thank WWF Switzerland for making this study possible. We acknowledge financial support by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

Supplementary material

10592_2014_590_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3,574 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan G. Hudson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pascal Vonlanthen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ole Seehausen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Aquatic Ecology, Institute of Ecology & EvolutionUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Fish Ecology and EvolutionEAWAG Center for Ecology, Evolution and BiogeochemistryKastanienbaumSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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