Genetic population structure of walleye (Sander vitreus) in northern Alberta and application to species management

  • Author / Creator
    Burke, Lindsey Alison
  • Walleye (Sander vitreus) is an economically valuable freshwater fish throughout North America. In Alberta, pressure from sport fishing and commercial fishing make effective management and protection of this species crucial to its sustainability. Walleye from 12 Alberta lakes were genetically characterized using 15 microsatellite markers. Each lake contained a genetically distinct walleye subpopulation within a larger population of the river basin in which the lake was situated. Differentiation between subpopulations varied (θST=0.05 to 0.29). Patterns of genetic divergence aligned closely with the current hydro-geographical landscape, except where stocking events have occurred. Vicariance and natal philopatry are likely mechanisms maintaining the current genetic structure. The markers detected sufficient genetic variation between most subpopulations to assign an individual fish to a subpopulation of origin. The utility of genetic assignment was illustrated for stocking assessment and forensic enforcement. These genetic data will help to inform management decisions, monitor population status and enforce harvest restrictions for Alberta walleye.

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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.