Genetic structure of lake whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis, populations in the northern main basin of Lake Huron
Stott, W.; Ebener, M.P.; Mohr, L.; Schaeffer, J.; Roseman, E.F.; Harford, W.J.; Johnson, J.E.; Fietsch, C.-L.
Genetic analysis of spawning lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) from six sites in the main basin of Lake Huron was conducted to determine population structure. Samples from fisheryindependent assessment surveys in the northwest main basin were analyzed to determine the relative contributions of lake whitefish genetic populations. Genetic population structure was identified using data from seven microsatellite DNA loci. One population was identified at Manitoulin Island, one to two were observed in the east-central main basin (Fishing Island and Douglas Point), and one to two populations were found in the northwest (Thunder Bay and Duncan Bay). The genetic identity of collections from Duncan Bay and Thunder Bay was not consistent among methods used to analyze population structure. Low genetic distances suggested that they comprised one population, but genic differences indicated that they may constitute separate populations. Simulated data indicated that the genetic origins of samples from a mixed-fishery could be accurately identified, but accuracy could be improved by incorporating additional microsatellite loci. Mixture analysis and individual assignment tests performed on mixed-stock samples collected from the western main basin suggested that genetic populations from the east-central main basin contributed less than those from the western main basin and that the proportional contribution of each baseline population was similar in each assessment sample. Analysis of additional microsatellite DNA loci may be useful to help improve the precision of the estimates, thus increasing our ability to manage and protect this valuable resource.