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Distribution of individual inbreeding coefficients, relatedness and influence of stocking on native anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta) population structure


D. E. Ruzzante. Fax: (+ 45) 89 21 31 50;


We examined polymorphism at seven microsatellite loci in 4023 brown trout (Salmo trutta) collected from 32 tributaries to the Limfjord, Denmark (~200 km) and from two hatcheries used for stocking. Populations differ in their estimated sizes and stocking histories. Mean individual inbreeding coefficients do not differ among locations within rivers. Relatedness varies between sites within rivers indicating varied local dynamics at a very small geographical scale. Relatedness is sometimes lower than expected among an equal number of simulated individuals with randomized genotypes, suggesting structure within locations. Five per cent of the genetic variance is distributed among rivers (FST = 0.049), but in the western, less heavily stocked, area of the Limfjord a higher proportion of the genetic variance is distributed among rivers than among locations within rivers. The reverse is true of the eastern, more heavily stocked, area of the Limfjord. Here, a higher proportion of the genetic variance is distributed among locations within rivers than among rivers. Assignment tests reveal that the majority of trout (mean 77% of all fish) are more probably of local origin than hatchery origin but this proportion varies regionally, with rivers in the western area of the Limfjord showing a relatively high (mean 88%) and those in the eastern area showing a relatively low (mean 72%) proportion of locally assigned trout. These results can be interpreted as reflecting stocking impact. Also, the proportion of locally assigned trout correlates with the populations’ stocking histories, with rivers presently subjected to stocking (hatchery trout) showing low (mean ~0.73), and rivers where stocking was discontinued showing high (mean ~0.84) proportions of local fish, probably reflecting lower survival of hatchery than of wild trout. There is evidence for isolation by distance at a large geographical scale when individual river populations are pooled into nine geographical regions but not at a small geographical scale when populations are considered individually. We reject the null hypothesis that stocking has had no impact on population structure but the relatively high proportion of locally assigned trout in populations where stocking with domestic fish no longer takes place suggests limited long-term success of stocking.