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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Changes in the spatio-temporal genetic structure of Baltic sea trout (Salmo trutta L.) over two decades: direct and indirect effects of stocking

Burimski, Oksana; Vasemagi, Anti; Gross, Riho

Abstract

Several countries have implemented stocking programmes to enhance abundance and fish production by releases of hatchery-reared fish. However, due to fluctuations in population size, stocking history, and potential indirect effects of straying of hatchery-reared fish, it is often difficult to predict how these factors will affect genetic diversity and differentiation patterns among wild populations. This study characterized the population genetic structure and temporal variability of four Estonian sea trout populations by evaluating the degrees of direct and indirect genetic impacts of stocking over two decades using 14 microsatellite loci. Our results demonstrate considerable temporal change combined with weak genetic structuring among studied sea trout populations. We found a reduction of the overall level of genetic differentiation combined with the tendency for increased genetic diversity, and an effective number of breeders (N-b) over the study period. Furthermore, we found that immigration rates (m) from hatchery stocks were highest in the population subjected to direct stocking and in non-stocked populations that were located geographically closer to the stocked rivers. This work suggests that hatchery releases have influenced the genetic diversity and structuring of studied sea trout populations. However, the impact of hatchery releases on the adaptive variation and fitness-related traits in wild trout populations remains to be revealed by more informative genetic markers. This study illustrates the dynamic nature of the population genetic structure of sea trout and the value of long-term genetic monitoring for management and conservation.

Keywords

Stocking effects; Microsatellite; N-e; Population genetics; Salmo trutta; Temporal variation

Published in

Conservation Genetics
2024, Volume: 25, number: 2, pages: 481–497 Publisher: SPRINGER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-023-01582-7

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/127125