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Genetic Stock Assessment and Hatchery Contributions of Sauger Stocked into Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee
- Ferrell, Heather, Hurt, Carla, Bettoli, Phillip W.
- Southeastern naturalist 2017 v.16 no.3 pp. 411-425
- Sander canadensis, effective population size, fisheries, genetic markers, genetic variation, hatcheries, heterozygosity, lakes, parentage, rivers, wildlife, Tennessee
- Sander canadensis (Sauger) once supported a viable fishery in many of the reservoirs throughout Tennessee; however, these populations have experienced widespread declines. To improve population numbers, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency began stocking Sauger in 1992 in Tennessee and Cumberland river impoundments. Here we examine the percent contribution of hatchery-stocked Sauger to the wild population in Old Hickory Lake, a mainstem impoundment on the Cumberland River. We determined the contribution of hatchery-stocked Sauger using microsatellite markers and a categorical allocation-based parentage analysis. We also evaluated measures of genetic diversity, including estimates of heterozygosity and effective population size. Genetic variation was comparable to other stocked populations of percids. However, estimates of effective population size were low and the contribution of hatchery-reared Sauger to natural populations was moderate, averaging 25.8% across sampled year classes. Despite high genetic diversity, the Sauger population in Old Hickory Lake may be declining, and hatchery efforts to supplement Sauger numbers are contributing little to recovery of the population.