Jocelyn Lin, University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Lorenz Hauser, University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Jeff Hard, NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
To investigate the effects of dispersal on phenotypic variation and population productivity, a Sea Grant-NOAA Fisheries Fellow modeled evolution and population dynamics in connected sockeye salmon populations. The model was stochastic, individual-based, and used quantitative genetics to predict evolution.
Pacific salmon are an ecologically and economically important group of species. Assessing levels of genetic and phenotypic variation among groups of salmon helps to identify species units that should be managed independently. However, genetic parameters are rarely linked to both phenotypic variation and population dynamics. Furthermore, the ecological and evolutionary effects of connectivity between populations are not always considered.
Results indicated that high gene flow between populations can cause rapid homogenization of phenotypes (similarity in fish characteristics), and that very strong stabilizing selection is required to constrain these homogenizing effects. Preliminary simulations also suggest that homogenization has limited effects on population productivity. Results will be crucial for understanding asynchronous population fluctuations in sockeye salmon and will help to set conservation and management priorities in wild salmon fisheries.