Historical and Anthropogenic Factors Affecting the Population Genetic Structure of Ontario's Inland Lake Populations of Walleye (Sander vitreus)

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Journal of Heredity





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erie; Fishes; hatchery stocking; Microsatellite; microsatellites; phylogeography; population structure; postglacial dispersal; refugial ancestry; SIMULATION; spawning philopatry; Statistics; stizostedion-vitreum; walleye


Populations existing in formerly glaciated areas often display composite historical and contemporary patterns of genetic structure. For Canadian freshwater fishes, population genetic structure is largely reflective of dispersal from glacial refugia and isolation within drainage basins across a range of scales. Enhancement of sport fisheries via hatchery stocking programs and other means has the potential to alter signatures of natural evolutionary processes. Using 11 microsatellite loci genotyped from 2182 individuals, we analyzed the genetic structure of 46 inland lake walleye (Sander vitreus) populations spanning five major drainage basins within the province of Ontario, Canada. Population genetic analyses coupled with genotype assignment allowed us to: 1) characterize broad- and fine-scale genetic structure among Ontario walleye populations; and 2) determine if the observed population divergence is primarily due to natural or historical processes, or recent anthropogenic events. The partitioning of genetic variation revealed higher genetic divergence among lakes than among drainage basins or proposed ancestriesindicative of relatively high isolation among lakes, study-wide. Walleye genotypes were clustered into three major groups, likely reflective of Missourian, Mississippian, and Atlantic glacial refugial ancestry. Despite detectable genetic signatures indicative of anthropogenic influences, province-wide spatial genetic structure remains consistent with the hypothesis of dispersal from distinct glacial refugia and subsequent isolation of lakes within primary drainage basins. Our results provide a novel example of minimal impacts from fishery enhancement to the broad-scale genetic structure of inland fish populations.


This is an accepted manuscript version of an aritcle whose version of record was published in:Journal of Heredity: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhered/ess066