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Conservation Genetics

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 729–742 | Cite as

Impact of dams on distribution, population structure, and hybridization of two species of California freshwater sculpin (Cottus)

  • Jason Baumsteiger
  • Andres Aguilar
Research Article

Abstract

Dams represent a beneficial way to maximize riverine potential, though the benefits often come with costs. Modified conditions to rivers downstream of dams (release temperature, flow, barriers to migration) can lead to changes in species compositions. In California, these effects are amplified, as limited water resources lead to extensive anthropogenic changes. Our study examined the role of seven western Sierra Nevada river dams on localized distribution and population structure of native riffle sculpin (Cottus gulosus) and their role in potential hybridization with native prickly sculpin (C. asper). Individuals were collected above and below dams, genotyped with 10 microsatellite loci, and analyzed for possible hybridization. Three downstream locations (American, Tuolumne, and Kings River) support populations of both species whereas the remaining downstream sites supported only prickly sculpin. River specific genetic population structure was found for both species but was more extensive in riffle sculpin. Hybridization was limited to the Kings River, and represented less than 3 % of individuals sampled. Comparisons between dams including elevation above sea level, type of dam, distance from dam to sampling location, and average released water temperature showed no correlation with riffle sculpin presence below a dam. Expanded sampling within the Kings River found no association with distance and riffle sculpin or hybrid presence, although both were limited to recent trout restoration areas. Therefore, despite initial inclinations, dams show no direct correlation with sculpin distributions or hybridization in the Great Central Valley of California.

Keywords

Anthropogenic Microsatellites Species ranges Riverine 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank L. Long and H. Isner of the Kings River Conservation District for their assistance, information, and expertise. Additionally, we wish to thank E. Guzman and K. Gibson of the California Department of Fish and Game, E. Rible and the East Bay Municipal Utility District, members of the CDFG Nimbus Dam Fish Hatchery for their help with sampling, and Dr. P. Moyle of UC Davis for lending us a backpack electroshocker. D. Jacobs and an anonymous reviewer further improved the manuscript. Funding was provided by a Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aide of Research award to J. Baumsteiger.

Supplementary material

10592_2014_574_MOESM1_ESM.docx (120 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 120 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences & Sierra Nevada Research InstituteUniversity of California MercedMercedUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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