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How does hybridization affect multiple metrics of fitness in fragmented populations of brook trout under moderate climate warming?


How does hybridization affect multiple metrics of fitness in fragmented populations of brook trout under moderate climate warming?

Wells, Zachery (2016) How does hybridization affect multiple metrics of fitness in fragmented populations of brook trout under moderate climate warming? Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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As a population’s genetic makeup is often attributed to the combined fitness of its individuals, the adoption of deliberate hybridization practices is an area of interest for many hatchery and conservation programs. Using a common garden experimental design involving eight wild populations of Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout), we studied how effective population size (Ne), divergence (QST, km), and environmental dissimilarity (pH, temperature) may influence hybridization outcomes for fitness related traits under moderate climate warming. Additionally, we looked at the ability of six of these populations to tolerate acute thermal warming, and whether or not this tolerance could be altered by hybridizing populations. Critical thermal maximum (CTmax) assays were conducted on juveniles from each population to assess thermal tolerance, and agitation temperature (a behavioural metric quantifying temperature at the onset of refugia-seeking behaviour) was recorded for assessing behavioural changes to elevated temperatures. Gametes were collected from different-sized, isolated populations of brook trout, and crossed in the lab. Fitness-related traits were compared between pure and F1 hybrid crosses via common garden experimental design. We had the unique opportunity to jointly investigate how these factors influence multiple metrics of hybrid fitness in wild, isolated, and varyingly-sized populations of a vertebrate species inhabiting a relatively undisturbed environment. Although population size and environmental dissimilarity were found to significantly affect hybrid fitness, these relationships were biologically weak. Although significant differences in CTmax were found between populations, this difference was at most 0.68 °C (29.11-29.79 °C), and no effect of hybridization was seen despite varying thermal regimes between these populations’ wild streams. These results will provide guidance to small population and captive-breeding conservation programs, as the lack of a strong relationship between hybridization and fitness encourages population-specific approach to genetic rescue projects. Additionally, this study highlights the level to which thermal tolerance is conserved between isolated populations of a vertebrate species, in the face of climate warming.

Divisions:Concordia University
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Wells, Zachery
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Date:10 September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Fraser, Dylan J.
Keywords:outbreeding, hybridization, brook trout, conservaiton, genetics, thermal tolerance, critical thermal maximum
ID Code:981732
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 19:15
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53


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