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BEHAVIORAL & GENETIC DIVERSITY AMONG ECOTYPES OF LAKE SUPERIOR BROOK TROUT

Whether lake and stream ecotypes of brook trout in Lake Superior  result from genetic polymorphism or phenotypic plasticity remains  unexplored, but has important implications for the conservation and  restoration of the declining lake (coaster) ecotype.  We will test the  hypotheses that individual differences in early behavior of brook  trout from polymorphic populations are heritable and that the  behavioral differences are linked to allelic variation and  differential expression in candidate genes for behaviors that could be  linked with migration. The objectives of this study are to test:  1)  whether young brook trout from polymorphic populations exhibit  significant quantitative genetic variation in propensity to disperse,  risk taking, general activity and aggressiveness; 2) whether the  behavioral differences are linked to allelic variation in candidate  genes identified for these behaviors in other organisms: 3) whether  the behavioral differences in brook trout are correlated with the  expression of those behavioral candidate genes.  Briefly, resident and  migrant brook trout will be sampled in the Cypress, Little Cypress and  Jackpine Rivers as well as Dublin Creek near Nipigon Bay, Lake  Superior in fall 2 1 .  Gametes will be crossed in a partial factorial  design for estimation of genetic and environmental variance  components. Progeny will be reared in a common garden experimental  design.  Behaviors will be quantified for >1  individuals from all  families soon after swim up and at approximately one year of age.   Heritability of behaviors will be estimated using variance component  analysis (Obj. 1). DNA will be obtained non-lethally from all  individuals to test whether differences in behavior are linked to  allelic variation in candidate genes for dispersal, foraging and  risk-taking behaviors (Obj. 2).  Brain tissue, a key site where  neuroendocrine factors mediate behavior, will be dissected immediately  following the behavioral assays to test whether behavioral differences  are associated with candidate gene expression (Obj. 3). The  combination of common garden and candidate gene approaches provides a  practical, necessary, and rigorous first step toward understanding the  relative contribution of genetic and environmental influences on  behavioral diversification of brook trout ecotypes in natural  populations, and toward planning future experimental reintroductions  into tributaries that historically produced the coaster phenotype

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Researchers
Robert McLaughlinResearcher
Associated with 4 projects
Krista NicholsResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Rob MackerethResearcher
Associated with 2 projects
Chris WilsonResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Agencies
Great Lakes Fishery Commission $ 158,000.00USDEstimates

Funding 54 projects for a total of $5,089,137.00
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Laboratory Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Organism
Population
Processes
Natural Ecological Processes
Resource Management
Fisheries
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Superior
State Province
Ontario
Annex Numbers
Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
Surveillance and Monitoring
General
Annex
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
    Surveillance and Monitoring
  • Annex 17

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