Hybrid zone structure and the potential role of selection in hybridizing populations of native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) and introduced rainbow trout (O. mykiss)

Authors

  • EMILY M. RUBIDGE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology and Native Fish Research Group, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4
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  • ERIC B. TAYLOR

    1. Department of Zoology and Native Fish Research Group, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4
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Emily M. Rubidge. Present address: Division of Ecosystems Sciences, Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California-Berkeley, 151 Hilgard Hall No. 3110, Berkeley, CA 94720-3110, USA. E-mail: erubridge@nature.berkeley.edu

Abstract

Introgressive hybridization is a common feature of many zones of contact between divergent lineages of fishes. This is particularly common when taxa that are normally allopatric come into artificial (human-induced) secondary contact. We examined 18 native populations of westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi, WCT) to determine the extent of introgressive hybridization with introduced rainbow trout (O. mykiss, RBT) and the genetic structure of hybridizing populations in the upper Kootenay River, southeastern British Columbia, Canada. Using four diagnostic nuclear loci we calculated a hybrid index, inbreeding coefficient, FIS, and the linkage disquilibrium correlation coefficient, Rij, for each locality to determine the distribution of genotypes in each population. We also categorized the 142 hybrid individuals found across localities into four hybrid classes based on their genotypes. The majority of localities (11/18) showed a unimodal distribution of genotypes skewed towards genotypes of WCT. Two localities, however (lower Gold Creek and Lodgepole Creek) showed a flat to bimodal distribution and one site (lower Bull River) showed a unimodal distribution skewed towards RBT genotypes. The majority of hybrid individuals were classified genotypically as WCT backcrosses (59%) and post-F1 individuals (24%). We found a skewed ratio of pure WCT to pure RBT (17 : 1) and only four F1 hybrids (3%), suggesting that the spread of RBT alleles may be facilitated by hybrids straying to neighbouring populations. We also tested for the action of selection in one population using cohort analyses, but found little evidence of differential selection between pure WCT and hybrid individuals. Pooled across age classes there were significant differences in genotypic frequencies among loci suggesting differential introgression. There was no asymmetry to the hybridization between rainbow trout and westslope cutthroat trout because both species’ mitochondrial DNA haplotypes were observed at similar frequencies in the hybrids. Our analyses suggest that hybrid swarms are likely to form in the upper Kootenay River drainage and that certain native WCT populations in British Columbia are at risk of local genomic extinction.

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