Main content area

Fine-scale population structure in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) influenced by life history variation in the Husky Lakes drainage basin, Northwest Territories, Canada

Kissinger, Benjamin C., Harris, Les N., Swainson, Danny, Anderson, W. Gary, Docker, Margaret F., Reist, James D.
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 2018 v.75 no.7 pp. 1070-1081
DNA, Salvelinus namaycush, anadromous fish, biodiversity, brackish water, breeding, freshwater, genetic variation, habitat preferences, lakes, life history, microsatellite repeats, population structure, rivers, spawning, sympatry, watersheds, Arctic region, Northwest Territories
Partial anadromy is common within salmonid populations, where resident and anadromous individuals interbreed and overlap in habitat use during portions of life. Deviation to this definition occurs within the Husky Lakes drainage basin (HLDB), Northwest Territories, where freshwater resident, semi-anadromous, and brackish-water resident lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) life history types are documented. In this study, microsatellite DNA variation was assayed to evaluate genetic structuring among life history types from the HLDB and adjacent lower Mackenzie River system. Significant differentiation was resolved among most locations and life histories (global FST = 0.192). Brackish-water residents were differentiated from all locations and life histories, including sympatric semi-anadromous individuals, providing evidence for genetically fixed strategies. Also, this provides the first evidence of breeding partial migration in salmonids using brackish-water environments, where brackish-water residents and semi-anadromous migrants interact during the nonbreeding season, but the latter migrate elsewhere to spawn. Alternatively, the lack of genetic differentiation between semi-anadromous and Sitidgi Lake residents suggests conditional mating tactics may also influence partial anadromy. This work provides novel insights into partial anadromy in Arctic salmonids and expands our knowledge of biodiversity in this region.