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Is genetic variability so important? Non-native salmonids in South America

Abstract
Three salmonid species introduced in Patagonian national parks in Argentine have experienced different degrees of expansion. Atlantic salmon Salmo salar is restricted to a few river-lake systems and its populations have been declining over recent years. Both rainbow Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta populations have expanded from their introduction sites and now occupy a wide range of freshwater ecosystems. Genetic variation at the same neutral markers (microsatellite loci) was examined for different populations of the three species acclimatized to the same areas, and compared with that of native populations. Founder effects denoted as reduced variability and great differentiation with respect to the native populations were detected. Significant reduction in variability has not been an obstacle for successful adaptation of rainbow and brown trout, indicating that genetic variability per se cannot be claimed as the reason for their different outcomes in the new habitats.
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2007-01-01
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