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Benefits of genetic data for the design of Brook Trout translocation efforts

December 1, 2022

With wild trout populations in decline, many conservation practitioners are evaluating the feasibility of incorporating reintroduction and genetic rescue into management frameworks. As interest in these conservation tools continues to grow, so too has the need for rigorous science to evaluate translocation success and improve the efficacy of future efforts. From this, it has become increasingly apparent that approaches which consider both demographics and genetics are most likely to result in successful translocations. In particular, while demographic data are often a central component of project designs, they are insufficient for diagnosing genetic threats such as low diversity, maladaptation, and introgression that characterize many wild trout populations. Consideration for these genetic characteristics is important for long-term project success and to reduce the unintended spread of domestic lineages across the landscape. Using a case study of reintroduction of Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis into a North Carolina stream, we show how a combined demographic and genetic approach can be used throughout all stages of project design. In particular, we highlight how genetic data were informative for identifying source populations that had the greatest potential to establish a population with the genetic diversity needed for future adaptation. We also discuss how genetic monitoring of the reintroduced population provided insights into reproductive success and genetic diversity that could be indicative of long-term population persistence. While monitoring is ongoing, this combined genetic and demographic approach provides a promising framework for helping meet reintroduction goals and provides more opportunities for adaptive management following translocation.

Publication Year 2022
Title Benefits of genetic data for the design of Brook Trout translocation efforts
Authors Shannon L. White, Thomas C Johnson, Jacob M Rash, Barbara A. Lubinski, David C. Kazyak
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70238472
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center