Nuclear DNA identification of migrating bull trout captured at the Puget Sound Energy diversion dam on the White River, Washington State

Authors

  • J. D. Baker,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, 1122 NE Boat Street, Seattle, WA 98105, USA,
      J. Baker. §Present address: Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, E323, 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, WA 98112–2097, USA; Fax: 206 860 3335; E-mail: jon.baker@noaa.gov
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  • P. Moran,

    1. Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112–2097, USA,
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  • R. Ladley

    1. Puyallup Tribal Fisheries, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, 2002 East 28th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98404, USA
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J. Baker. §Present address: Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, E323, 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, WA 98112–2097, USA; Fax: 206 860 3335; E-mail: jon.baker@noaa.gov

Abstract

Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is a char listed as threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act throughout its range in the coterminous United States. Substantial morphological similarities between bull trout and Dolly Varden (S. malma) make field identification difficult. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of their distribution and abundance in Washington State where these two species occur sympatrically. We used three diagnostic nuclear loci to determine the species of char collected at a trap on the White River in southern Puget Sound (Washington State, USA). Each of the 104 samples revealed the expected bull trout genotype at all three loci. This work presents three principle results: (i) the presence of a migratory bull trout population in southern Puget Sound; (ii) no evidence of migratory Dolly Varden over 3 years; and (iii) no evidence of hybridization was detected. These results also demonstrate how molecular markers can provide information essential to the conservation and management of these species.

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