Conservation Genetics

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 245–256 | Cite as

Low genetic variability in lake populations of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis): A consequence of exploitation?

  • Matthew W. Jones
  • Tara L. McParland
  • Jeffrey A. Hutchings
  • Roy G. Danzmann


Previous studies have found lower levels ofgenetic variation in lake than streampopulations of brook trout (Salvelinusfontinalis). We test the generality of thisobservation by examining whether brook troutgenetic variation at 10 allozyme loci differedwithin and among 9 pairs of lake and adjacentstream populations. With one exception, wefound that lake populations had lowerheterozygosity than their adjacent streampopulations. Although the lakes in this studyare small and some have had documented fishmortality events, no association was foundbetween lake size characteristics and thedegree of difference in heterozygosity betweenlakes and their adjacent stream populations. There were, however, negative associationsbetween metrics of fishing mortality and thedifference in heterozygosity between lakes andtheir adjacent stream populations. Thegreater the estimated fishing pressure onlake-dwelling trout, the greater the reductionin heterozygosity in those populationsrelative to their adjacent stream populations. We interpret our findings to suggest thatintensive fishing pressure can significantlyreduce genetic variation. Managers shouldtherefore prevent human-induced mortality atany indication of a large natural mortalityevent to allow populations to increase in sizeas rapidly as possible following a decline.

exploitation genetic variation population bottlenecks 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allendorf FW,Mitchell N,Ryman N,Stahl G (1977) Isozyme loci in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.): Detection and interpretation from population data. Hereditas, 86, 179–190.Google Scholar
  2. Angers B,Bernatchez L (1998) Combined use of SMM and non-SMM methods to infer fine structure and evolutionary history of closely related brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis, Salmonidae) populations from microsatellites. Mol. Biol. Evol., 15, 143–159.Google Scholar
  3. Cavalli-Sforza LL,Edwards AWF (1967) Phylogenetic analysis: Models and estimation procedures. Evol., 21, 550–570.Google Scholar
  4. Danzmann RG,Ihssen PE (1995) A phylogeographic survey of brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Algonquin Park, Ontario based upon mitochondrial DNA variation. Mol. Ecol., 4, 226–243.Google Scholar
  5. Danzmann RG,Morgan II RP,Jones MW,Bernatchez L,Ihssen PE (1998) A major sextet of mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic assemblages extant in eastern North American brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis): Distribution and post-glacial dispersal patterns. Can. J. Zool., 76, 1300–1318.Google Scholar
  6. Frankel OH,Soule ME (1981) Conservation and Evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  7. Frankham R (1995) Effective population size/adult population size ratios in wildlife: A review. Genetical Research, 66, 95–107.Google Scholar
  8. Franklin IR (1980) Evolutionary change in small populations. In: Conservation Biology. An Evolutionary-Ecological Perspective (eds. Soule ME,Wilcox, BA), pp. 135–149. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  9. Fraser JM (1989) Establishment of reproducing population of brook trout after stocking interstrain hybrids in Precambrian Shield lakes. N. A. J. Fish. Man., 9, 352–363.Google Scholar
  10. Greene CW (1952) Results from stocking brook trout of wild and hatchery strains at Stillwater Pond. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc., 81, 43–52.Google Scholar
  11. Hébert C,Danzmann RG,Jones MW,Bernatchez L (2000) Hydrography and population genetic structure in brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis, Mitchill) from eastern Canada. Mol. Ecol., 9, 971–982.Google Scholar
  12. Hebert PDN,Beaton MJ (1989) Methodologies for Allozyme Analysis using Cellulose Acetate Electrophoresis. A Practical Handbook. Helena Laboratories, Beaumont, TX.Google Scholar
  13. Hoar R (1981) Resource Management Study: Trout Fishery-Fundy National Park. Parks Canada. 166 pp. Unpublished Report.Google Scholar
  14. Hutchings JA,Ferguson MM (1992) The independence of enzyme heterozygosity and life-history traits in natural populations of Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout). Heredity, 69, 496–502.Google Scholar
  15. Jones MW (1995) Conservation Genetics and Life History Variation of Brook Charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Eastern Canada. MSc Thesis, University of Guelph, Guelph.Google Scholar
  16. Jones MW,Clay D,Danzmann RG (1996) Conservation genetics of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis): Population structuring in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, and eastern Canada. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 53, 2776–2791.Google Scholar
  17. Kumar S,Tamura K,Nei M (1993) MEGA: Molecular Evolutionary Genetic Analysis, Version 1.02. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.Google Scholar
  18. Lachance S,Magnan P (1990) Performance of domestic, hybrid, and wild strains of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, after stocking: The impact of intra-and interspecific competition. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 47, 2278–2284.Google Scholar
  19. Lande R (1993) Risks of population extinction from demographic and environmental stochasticity and random catastrophies. Am. Nat., 142, 911–927.Google Scholar
  20. Lande R,Shannon S (1996) The role of genetic variation in adaptation and population persistence in a changing environment. Evol., 50, 434–437.Google Scholar
  21. Levene H (1949) On a matching problem arising in genetics. Ann. Math. Stat., 20, 91–94.Google Scholar
  22. May B,Wright JE,Stoneking M (1979) Joint segregation of biochemical loci in Salmonidae: Results from experiments with Salvelinus and review of the literature on other species. J. Fish. Res. Board Can., 36, 1114–1128.Google Scholar
  23. Miller LM,Kapuscinski AR (1997) Historical analysis of genetic variation reveals low effective population size in a northern pike (Esox lucius) population. Genetics, 147, 1249–1258.Google Scholar
  24. Nei M,Maruyama T,Chakraborty R (1975) The bottleneck effect and genetic variation in populations. Evol., 29, 1–10.Google Scholar
  25. Rice WR (1989) Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evol., 43, 223–225.Google Scholar
  26. Ricker WE (1975) Computation and interpretation of biological statistics of fish populations. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can., 191, 382.Google Scholar
  27. Ridgway MS,Blanchfield PJ (1998) Brook trout spawning areas in lakes. Ecol. Fresh. Fish, 7, 140–145.Google Scholar
  28. Saitou N,Nei M (1987) The neighbor-joining method: A new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Mol. Biol. Evol., 4, 406–425.Google Scholar
  29. Savolainen O,Hedrick P (1995) Heterozygosity and fitness: no association in Scots pine. Genetics, 140, 755–766.Google Scholar
  30. Shaklee JB,Allendorf FW,Morizot DD,Whitt GS (1990) Gene nomenclature for protein-coding loci in fish. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc., 119, 2–15.Google Scholar
  31. Siegismund HR (1993) G-Stat, Ver. 3, Genetical Statistical Programs for the Analysis of Population Data. The Arboretum, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Horsholm, Denmark.Google Scholar
  32. Swofford DL,Selander RB (1981) BIOSYS-1. A Computer Program for the Analysis of Allelic Variation in Genetics. Department of genetics and Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  33. Utter FM,Hodgins HO,Allendorf FW (1974) Biochemical genetic studies of fishes: Potentialities and limitations. In: Biochemical and Biophysical Perspectives in Marine Biology, Vol. 1 (eds. Malins DC,Sargent JR), pp. 213–238. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Wright MF,Guttman SI (1995) Lack of an association between heterozygosity and growth rate in the wood frog, Rana sylvatica. Can. J. Zool., 73, 569–575.Google Scholar
  35. Wright S (1931) Evolution in Mendelian populations. Genetics, 16, 97–159.Google Scholar
  36. Wright S (1978) Evolution and Genetics of Populations: Variability within and Among Natural Populations, Volume 4. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew W. Jones
    • 1
  • Tara L. McParland
    • 1
  • Jeffrey A. Hutchings
    • 1
  • Roy G. Danzmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations