Molecular genetic markers and the conservation of anadromons fishes at broad and local scales: coho salmon (Oncorhynckus kisutch) and white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) as case studies




Smith, Christian Tracy

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Nuclear microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation were examined in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) populations in order to address conservation issues in each species. In coho the goal was to examine genetic structure on a broad scale, in order to facilitate the conservation of genetic resources within the species. Coho salmon were widely sampled across their North American range. In white sturgeon the goal was to characterize population structure within the Fraser River, in order to identify biologically meaningful management units within that system. White sturgeon sampling was restricted to two watersheds (the Fraser and Columbia rivers), allowing much more thorough sampling than was done for coho. For both species, the use of mitochondrial and nuclear markers proved advantageous over examining either marker alone. The coho data revealed two levels of intraspecific variation, and gave the best indication to date regarding how genetic resources might be distributed within this species. The data is useful for protecting this species' ability to evolve. In contrast, the sturgeon data identified four regions within the Fraser River between which migration is limited. The sturgeon data, therefore, facilitate prevention of extirpation of local populations within the Fraser River.



Salmon, Genetics, Coho salmon, White sturgeon