Complex pattern of genetic structuring in the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) of the River Foyle system in northwest Ireland: disentangling the evolutionary signal from population stochasticity

Dennis Ensing, Paulo Prodöhl, Philip McGinnity, Patrick Boylan, Niall O'Maoileidigh, Walter W. Crozier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about the microevolutionary processes shaping within river population genetic structure of aquatic organisms characterized by high levels of homing and spawning site fidelity. Using a microsatellite panel, we observed complex and highly significant levels of intrariver population genetic substructure and Isolation-by-Distance, in the Atlantic salmon stock of a large river system. Two evolutionary models have been considered explaining mechanisms promoting genetic substructuring in Atlantic salmon, the member-vagrant and metapopulation models. We show that both models can be simultaneously used to explain patterns and levels of population structuring within the Foyle system. We show that anthropogenic factors have had a large influence on contemporary population structure observed. In an analytical development, we found that the frequently used estimator of genetic differentiation, F-ST, routinely underestimated genetic differentiation by a factor three to four compared to the equivalent statistic Jost's D-est (Jost 2008). These statistics also showed a near-perfect correlation. Despite ongoing discussions regarding the usefulness of "adjusted" F-ST statistics, we argue that these could be useful to identify and quantify qualitative differences between populations, which are important from management and conservation perspectives as an indicator of existence of biologically significant variation among tributary populations or a warning of critical environmental damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-372
Number of pages14
JournalEthology Ecology and Evolution
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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