Who are the missing parents? Grandparentage analysis identifies multiple sources of gene flow into a wild population

Authors


Mark R. Christie, Fax: (541) 737 0501; E-mail: christim@science.oregonstate.edu

Abstract

In order to increase the size of declining salmonid populations, supplementation programmes intentionally release fish raised in hatcheries into the wild. Because hatchery-born fish often have lower fitness than wild-born fish, estimating rates of gene flow from hatcheries into wild populations is essential for predicting the fitness cost to wild populations. Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have both freshwater resident and anadromous (ocean-going) life history forms, known as rainbow trout and steelhead, respectively. Juvenile hatchery steelhead that ‘residualize’ (become residents rather than go to sea as intended) provide a previously unmeasured route for gene flow from hatchery into wild populations. We apply a combination of parentage and grandparentage methods to a three-generation pedigree of steelhead from the Hood River, Oregon, to identify the missing parents of anadromous fish. For fish with only one anadromous parent, 83% were identified as having a resident father while 17% were identified as having a resident mother. Additionally, we documented that resident hatchery males produced more offspring with wild anadromous females than with hatchery anadromous females. One explanation is the high fitness cost associated with matings between two hatchery fish. After accounting for all of the possible matings involving steelhead, we find that only 1% of steelhead genes come from residualized hatchery fish, while 20% of steelhead genes come from wild residents. A further 23% of anadromous steelhead genes come from matings between two resident parents. If these matings mirror the proportion of matings between residualized hatchery fish and anadromous partners, then closer to 40% of all steelhead genes come from wild trout each generation. These results suggest that wild resident fish contribute substantially to endangered steelhead ‘populations’ and highlight the need for conservation and management efforts to fully account for interconnected Oncorhynchus mykiss life histories.

Ancillary