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Genetic effects of habitat restoration in the Laurentian Great Lakes: an assessment of lake sturgeon origin and genetic diversity

July 1, 2015

Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) have experienced significant habitat loss, resulting in reduced population sizes. Three artificial reefs were built in the Huron-Erie corridor in the Great Lakes to replace lost spawning habitat. Genetic data were collected to determine the source and numbers of adult lake sturgeon spawning on the reefs and to determine if the founder effect resulted in reduced genetic diversity. DNA was extracted from larval tail clips and 12 microsatellite loci were amplified. Larval genotypes were then compared to 22 previously studied spawning lake sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes to determine the source of the parental population. The effective number of breeders (Nb) was calculated for each reef cohort. The larval genotypes were then compared to the source population to determine if there were any losses in genetic diversity that are indicative of the founder effect. The St. Clair and Detroit River adult populations were found to be the source parental population for the larvae collected on all three artificial reefs. There were large numbers of contributing adults relative to the number of sampled larvae. There was no significant difference between levels of genetic diversity in the source population and larval samples from the artificial reefs; however, there is some evidence for a genetic bottleneck in the reef populations likely due to the founder effect. Habitat restoration in the Huron-Erie corridor is likely resulting in increased habitat for the large lake sturgeon population in the system and in maintenance of the population's genetic diversity.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Genetic effects of habitat restoration in the Laurentian Great Lakes: an assessment of lake sturgeon origin and genetic diversity
DOI 10.1111/rec.12200
Authors Jamie Marie Marranca, Amy Welsh, Edward F. Roseman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Restoration Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70155206
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center