Skip to main content

Assessment of the population genetic structure of lake sturgeon

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:   Understanding the population genetic structure of lake sturgeon  throughout the Great Lakes basin is critical for the successful  restoration of this native species.  Genetic data collected thus far  indicate substantial population structuring within the most  thoroughly sampled lake basins, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.   However, data gaps exist in the remaining lake basins.  We propose  to assess the genetic relationships between spawning populations in  Lakes Huron, Erie, Ontario, and Champlain using samples being  collected through already-existing projects.  We will explore  postglacial recolonization as a possible explanation for observed  genetic patterns.  Our project will also provide data on movements  of non-spawning lake sturgeon.  PROJECT OBJECTIVES:  1.    Determine levels of within- and among-population levels of  genetic diversity at six spawning locations. 2.    Identify correlations between genetic relationships and  glacial refugia/postglacial recolonizations. 3.    Assign non-spawning lake sturgeon caught from Lakes  Superior, Huron, and Erie to their river of origin.  METHODS:   As part of sampling efforts being funded independently of the  proposed project, fin clips from spawning adults will be obtained  from Lake Huron (Spanish River, Lake Nipissing, and Saginaw Bay),  Lake Erie (Maumee River), Lake Ontario (Black River), and Lake  Champlain.  Four of these locations will be sampled spring 2  5 and  2  6; samples from Lake Champlain and Lake Nipissing have already  been obtained by our laboratory.  Samples will be analyzed using  microsatellite and mitochondrial (mtDNA) markers.  Fin samples from  previous other projects in our laboratory (19 spawning locations)  will also be analyzed using mtDNA; analysis using microsatellite  loci has been completed for these samples.  Using mtDNA, we will  perform a nested clade analysis and mismatch analysis to see if  genetic differences correlate to postglacial recolonization.  The  combined dataset of spawning locations (25 populations) will provide  a baseline for the assignment of fin samples already collected from  the open waters of Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie. 

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Laboratory Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Resource Management
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Erie
Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontario
Lake Superior
Out of Basin
State Province
New York
Annex Numbers
Research & Development
Surveillance and Monitoring

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.