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Genomic and environmental influences on resilience in a cold-water fish near the edge of its range

January 1, 2021

Small, isolated populations present a challenge for conservation. The dueling effects of selection and drift in a limited pool of genetic diversity make the responses of small populations to environmental perturbations erratic and difficult to predict. This is particularly true at the edge of a species range, where populations often persist at the limits of their environmental tolerances. Populations of cisco, Coregonus artedi, in inland lakes have experienced numerous extirpations along the southern edge of their range in recent decades, which are thought to result from environmental degradation and loss of cold, well-oxygenated habitat as lakes warm. Yet, cisco extirpations do not show a clear latitudinal pattern, suggesting that local environmental factors and potentially local adaptation may influence resilience. Here, we used genomic tools to investigate the nature of this pattern of resilience. We used restriction site-associated DNA capture (Rapture) sequencing to survey genomic diversity and differentiation in southern inland lake cisco populations and compared the frequency of deleterious mutations that potentially influence fitness across lakes. We also examined haplotype diversity in a region of the major histocompatibility complex involved in stress and immune system response. We correlated these metrics to spatial and environmental factors including latitude, lake size, and measures of oxythermal habitat and found significant relationships between genetic metrics and broad and local factors. High levels of genetic differentiation among populations were punctuated by a phylogeographic break and residual patterns of isolation-by-distance. Although the prevalence of deleterious mutations and inbreeding coefficients was significantly correlated with latitude, neutral and non-neutral genetic diversity were most strongly correlated with lake surface area. Notably, differences among lakes in the availability of estimated oxythermal habitat left no clear population genomic signature. Our results shed light on the complex dynamics influencing these isolated populations and provide valuable information for their conservation.

Publication Year 2021
Title Genomic and environmental influences on resilience in a cold-water fish near the edge of its range
DOI 10.1111/eva.13313
Authors Amanda Susanne Ackiss, Madeline R. Magee, Greg G. Sass, Keith Turnquist, Peter B. McIntyre, Wesley A Larson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Evolutionary Applications
Index ID 70227663
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center