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Genetic diversity of upper Lake Constance whitefish Coregonus spp. under the influence of fisheries: a DNA study based on archived scale samples from 1932, 1975 and 2006

Authors

  • B. Gum,

    Corresponding author
    1. Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Technische Universität München, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, D-85354 Freising, Germany
    2. Fisheries Research Station Baden-Württemberg, D-88085 Langenargen, Germany
    • Author to whom correspondence should be addressed at present address: Fachberatung für Fischerei, Bezirk Oberbayern, Vockestr. 72, 85540 Haar, Germany. Tel.: +49 89 452349–12; email: bernhard.gum@bezirk-oberbayern.de

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  • J. Geist,

    1. Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Technische Universität München, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, D-85354 Freising, Germany
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  • S. Eckenfels,

    1. Institut für Seenforschung, Landesanstalt für Umwelt, Messungen und Naturschutz Baden-Württemberg, D-88085 Langenargen, Germany
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  • A. Brinker

    1. Fisheries Research Station Baden-Württemberg, D-88085 Langenargen, Germany
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Abstract

This investigation examined changes in the genetic diversity of pelagic upper Lake Constance (ULC) whitefish Coregonus wartmanni population before and after the alteration of fishery methods and management from 1932 to 2006. The study spans a period of pronounced changes in trophic status of the lake and transitions from traditional relatively unselective pelagic seine (Klusgarn) fishing to highly size-selective nylon gillnet techniques. In addition, supportive breeding and stocking became most popular during the phase of eutrophication in the 1970s. The main hypothesis is that size-selective fisheries and breeding lead to an overall decrease in genetic variability over time. A total of 215 archived C. wartmanni scale samples from 1932, 1975 and 2006 were analysed by genotyping 11 microsatellite loci. A comparison of population genetic parameters, including allelic richness, observed and expected heterozygosities, and estimates of effective population sizes, suggests that the genetic diversity of C. wartmanni population has not decreased. The appearance of new alleles in the gene pool in 1975 and 2006 may be indicative of admixture with other forms in the lake or with stocked allochthonous forms. Overall, the fisheries management practice in ULC, including the effects of size-selective fisheries, supportive breeding and stocking, have not significantly altered the genetic diversity of Coregonus spp. over an 80 year period.

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