Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Earth and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Daniel Heath


Health and environmental sciences, Biological sciences



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Resident rainbow trout in Babine Lake, British Columbia are the focus of regionally important recreational and First Nations food fisheries. This study investigates the roles of dispersal and random genetic drift on lake-wide population genetic structure and non-random distribution of adults. Using thirteen microsatellite loci, I found strong divergence between tributary populations and parr and fry life-stages within tributaries. I found that juvenile dispersal did not greatly affect the divergence between parr and fry groups, but that random genetic drift due to low effective population size was the likely cause of divergence between parr and fry. Adult distribution in the lake was non-random and may have been driven by habitat partitioning. This study demonstrates that high genetic divergence between life-stages, random genetic drift, and non-random distribution of fish are critical factors that should be considered when evaluating evolutionary processes and considering management options.