Geographic hierarchical population genetic structuring in British European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and its implications for conservation

Crotti, M.; Adams, C.E.; Etheridge, E.C.; Bean, C.W.; Gowans, A.R.D.; Knudsen, R.; Lyle, A.A.; Maitland, P.S.; Winfield, I.J.; Elmer, K.R.; Præbel, K.. 2020 Geographic hierarchical population genetic structuring in British European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and its implications for conservation. Conservation Genetics, 21 (5). 927-939.

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The European whitefish Coregonus lavaretus complex represents one of the most diverse radiations within salmonids, with extreme morphological and genetic differentiation across its range. Such variation has led to the assignment of many populations to separate species. In Great Britain, the seven native populations of C. lavaretus (two in Scotland, four in England, one in Wales) were previously classified into three species, and recent taxonomic revision resurrected the previous nomenclature. Here we used a dataset of 15 microsatellites to: (1) investigate the genetic diversity of British populations, (2) assess the level of population structure and the relationships between British populations. Genetic diversity was highest in Welsh (HO = 0.50, AR = 5.29), intermediate in English (HO = 0.41–0.50, AR = 2.83–3.88), and lowest in Scottish populations (HO = 0.28–0.35, AR = 2.56–3.04). Population structure analyses indicated high genetic differentiation (global FST = 0.388) between all populations but for the two Scottish populations (FST = 0.063) and two English populations (FST = 0.038). Principal component analysis and molecular ANOVA revealed separation between Scottish, English, and Welsh populations, with the Scottish populations being the most diverged. We argue that the data presented here are not sufficient to support a separation of the British European whitefish populations into three separate species, but support the delineation of different ESUs for these populations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Unaffiliated
ISSN: 1566-0621
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: microsatellites, glaciation, salmonids, conservation genetics, freshwater fishes, DAPC
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 03 Nov 2020 15:09 +0 (UTC)

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