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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Genetic Diversity and Hybridisation between Native and Introduced Salmonidae Fishes in a Swedish Alpine Lake

Faulks, Leanne; Östman, Örjan


Understanding the processes underlying diversification can aid in formulating appropriate conservation management plans that help maintain the evolutionary potential of taxa, particularly under human-induced activities and climate change. Here we assessed the microsatellite genetic diversity and structure of three salmonid species, two native (Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus and brown trout, Salmo trutta) and one introduced (brook charr, Salvelinus fontinalis), from an alpine lake in sub-arctic Sweden, Lake Ann. The genetic diversity of the three species was similar and sufficiently high from a conservation genetics perspective: corrected total heterozygosity, H'(T) = 0.54, 0.66, 0.60 and allelic richness, A(R) = 4.93, 5.53 and 5.26 for Arctic charr, brown trout and brook charr, respectively. There were indications of elevated inbreeding coefficients in brown trout (G(IS) = 0.144) and brook charr (G(IS) = 0.129) although sibling relationships were likely a confounding factor, as a high proportion of siblings were observed in all species within and among sampling locations. Overall genetic structure differed between species, Fst = 0.01, 0.02 and 0.04 in Arctic charr, brown trout and brook charr respectively, and there was differentiation at only a few specific locations. There was clear evidence of hybridisation between the native Arctic charr and the introduced brook charr, with 6% of individuals being hybrids, all of which were sampled in tributary streams. The ecological and evolutionary consequences of the observed hybridisation are priorities for further research and the conservation of the evolutionary potential of native salmonid species.

Published in

2016, volume: 11, number: 3, article number: e0152732
Publisher: Public Library of Science

Authors' information

Faulks, Leanne
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources

Associated SLU-program

Lakes and watercourses

UKÄ Subject classification


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