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Environmental DNA in lake sediment reveals biogeography of native trout diversity

  • Author / Creator
    Nelson-Chorney, Hedin T
  • Understanding historical species distributions is vital to the conservation and restoration of native species, yet such information is often qualitative. Here, we show that the paleolimnological history of threatened freshwater fishes can be reconstructed using species diagnostic markers amplified from environmental DNA deposited in lake sediments (lake sediment DNA). This method was validated through the detection of lake sediment DNA from non-native trout (Yellowstone cutthroat trout; Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri), which corroborated historical records of human-mediated introductions. Moreover, we discovered native trout (westslope cutthroat trout; Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) lake sediment DNA that predated human-mediated introductions of freshwater fishes in a watershed with high topographical relief. This unexpected result revealed that the population was of native origin and requires immediate conservation protection. Our findings demonstrate that lake sediment DNA can be used to determine the colonization history of freshwater fishes and the structure of ecosystems, aiding in the identification of native ranges, novel native diversity, and introductions of non-native species.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-q51b-qd51
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.