Morphological and ecological responses to a conservation translocation of powan (Coregonus lavaretus) in Scotland
- 1.The establishment of refuge populations has become a common management tool for threatened fish species in recent years, yet the effects of translocation are not fully understood in a conservation context.
- 2.This paper examines the hypothesis that phenotypic changes have occurred during the formation of two refuge populations of the nationally rare powan (a freshwater fish species) which were established in Loch Sloy and Carron Valley Reservoir in Scotland.
- 3.Significant differences in head morphology, size and growth between the founder and refuge populations and between the two refuge populations were demonstrated. These changes are probably due to a combination of founder effects, intense selection and phenotypic plasticity. These changes can undermine the rationale behind the establishment of refuge populations.
- 4.The results call into question the usefulness of translocation as a conservation measure; however, there are times when this is the only viable management option available. The future of translocation and the validity of establishing refuge populations for powan conservation are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.