, Volume 702, Issue 1, pp 201–213 | Cite as

Nothing but a trace left? Autochthony and conservation status of Northern Adriatic Salmo trutta inferred from PCR multiplexing, mtDNA control region sequencing and microsatellite analysis

  • A. MeranerEmail author
  • P. Gratton
  • F. Baraldi
  • A. Gandolfi
Primary Research Paper


Phylogeny of Northern Adriatic Salmo trutta is still not resolved, leading to taxonomic controversies and hindering reasonable conservation and fisheries management. We report on the genetic screening of 467 brown trout from 25 sites within Adige, Brenta and Po River drainage basins (Italy). Our main aim was to identify native (Adriatic) brown trout within the central part of the Northern Adriatic area. D-loop lineage screening evidenced a predominance of the Atlantic clade with a frequency of 0.87, followed by the Marmoratus clade with 0.11, and, finally, the Adriatic clade with a frequency of 0.02. The Adriatic clade was found exclusively in specimens from Pianetti River and was represented by haplotype Adcs1. However, microsatellite-based analysis of population structure within Pianetti River specimens failed to identify Adriatic brown trout, but pointed to a nuclear genomic replacement of the former by Atlantic strains. In conjunction with earlier phylogenetic studies, our results contrast with a present-day widespread distribution scenario of Adriatic brown trout within the Northern Adriatic region. From a conservation viewpoint, the punctiform occurrence of Adriatic haplotypes, their ambiguous provenance, and, finally, the presumable genomic replacement at the nuclear genetic level, might hinder reasonable conservation actions and call for revised fisheries management guidelines.


Salmo trutta Adriatic mtDNA Control region Microsatellites Salmonid conservation 



The present study was funded by the Autonomous Province of Trento in the frame of both the project “FARIO-PAT” (a joint project with the Fisheries Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento, “Ufficio Faunistico della Provincia Autonoma di Trento”) as well as the project ACE-SAP (regulation number 23, June 12th 2008, of the University and Scientific Research Service). The authors are thankful to the Fisheries Office of the Autonomous Provinces of Trento for the great accomplishment of sampling activities and their thorough collaboration. The authors thank Angelo di Matteo (Riserva Naturale Gole di San Venanzio), Giuliana Allegrucci and Valerio Sbordoni (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”) for making available the samples from San Venanzio Gorges and Günther Unfer (University of Vienna, BOKU) for assistance in reconstructing brown trout demography. In addition, we would like to thank Cristiano Vernesi, Andreas Riedl and David Neale for their constructive inputs and helpful comments. Finally, we are thankful to Giovanna Flaim for the linguistic revision of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Meraner
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Gratton
    • 1
  • F. Baraldi
    • 1
  • A. Gandolfi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Research and Innovation CentreFondazione Edmund MachSan Michele all’AdigeItaly

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