Genomics and telemetry suggest a role for migration harshness in determining overwintering habitat choice, but not gene flow, in anadromous Arctic Char
Arctic, conservation, fish migration, fishery management, genotyping by sequencing, population genomics, RADseq
Migration is a ubiquitous life history trait with profound evolutionary and ecological consequences. Recent developments in telemetry and genomics, when combined, can bring significant insights on the migratory ecology of nonmodel organisms in the wild. Here, we used this integrative approach to document dispersal, gene flow and potential for local adaptation in anadromous Arctic Char from six rivers in the Canadian Arctic. Acoustic telemetry data from 124 tracked individuals indicated asymmetric dispersal, with a large proportion of fish (72%) tagged in three different rivers migrating up the same short river in the fall. Population genomics data from 6,136 SNP markers revealed weak, albeit significant, population differentiation (average pairwise FST = 0.011) and asymmetric dispersal was also revealed by population assignments. Approximate Bayesian computation simulations suggested the presence of asymmetric gene flow, although in the opposite direction to that observed from the telemetry data, suggesting that dispersal does not necessarily lead to gene flow. These observations suggested that Arctic Char home to their natal river to spawn, but may overwinter in rivers with the shortest migratory route to minimize the costs of migration in nonbreeding years. Genome scans and genetic–environment associations identified 90 outlier markers putatively under selection, 23 of which were in or near a gene. Of these, at least four were involved in muscle and cardiac function, consistent with the hypothesis that migratory harshness could drive local adaptation. Our study illustrates the power of integrating genomics and telemetry to study migrations in nonmodel organisms in logistically challenging environments such as the Arctic.
Moore, Jean Sébastien; Harris, Les N.; Le Luyer, Jérémy; Sutherland, Ben J.G.; Rougemont, Quentin; Tallman, Ross F.; Fisk, Aaron T.; and Bernatchez, Louis. (2017). Genomics and telemetry suggest a role for migration harshness in determining overwintering habitat choice, but not gene flow, in anadromous Arctic Char. Molecular Ecology, 26 (24), 6784-6800.