• Open Access

Transgenerational Effects of Parental Rearing Environment Influence the Survivorship of Captive-Born Offspring in the Wild

Authors

  • Melissa L. Evans,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ocean Sciences, Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
    2. Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University, Newport, USA
    • Correspondence Melissa Evans, 2030 SE Marine Science Dr. Newport, Oregon, 97365, USA.

      Tel: 541-867-0100; fax: 541-867-0345.

      E-mail: melissa.lea.evans@gmail.com

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  • Nathan F. Wilke,

    1. Department of Ocean Sciences, Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
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  • Patrick T. O'Reilly,

    1. Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
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  • Ian A. Fleming

    1. Department of Ocean Sciences, Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
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  • Editor Marc Mangel

Abstract

As natural populations decline, captive breeding and rearing programs have become essential components of conservation efforts. However, captive rearing can cause unintended phenotypic and/or genetic changes that adversely impact on population restoration efforts. Here, we test whether the exposure of captive-reared Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) to natural river environments (i.e., “wild exposure”) during early life can serve as a mitigation technique to improve the survivorship of descendents in the wild. Using genetic pedigree reconstruction, we observed a two-fold increase in the survivorship of offspring of wild-exposed parents compared to the offspring of captive parents. Our results suggest that harnessing the influence of transgenerational effects in captive-rearing programs can improve the outcomes of endangered species restoration efforts.

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