Nelson-Chorney, H.*, Carli, C.M., Davis, C.S., Vinebrooke, R.D., Poesch, M.S., and M.K. Taylor (2019) Environmental DNA in lake sediment reveals biogeography of native genetic diversity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 17: 313-318.

Citation: Nelson-Chorney, H., Carli, C.M., Davis, C.S., Vinebrooke, R.D., Poesch, M.S., and M.K. Taylor (2019) Environmental DNA in lake sediment reveals biogeography of native genetic diversity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 17: 313-318.

Abstract

Understanding the historical distributions of species is vital to the conservation and restoration of native species, yet such information is often qualitative. 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 sedDNA). This method was validated through the detection of lake sedDNA from non‐native trout (Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri), which corroborated historical records of human‐mediated introductions. We also discovered native trout (westslope cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) lake sedDNA that predated human‐mediated introductions of freshwater fishes in a watershed with high topographical relief. This unexpected result revealed that the westslope population was of native origin and requires immediate conservation protection. Our findings demonstrate that lake sedDNA 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. 

*Lab members:   Hedin Nelson-Chorney, Mark Poesch. Check out opportunities in the lab!

Lamothe,K.A., Drake, D.A.R., Pitcher, T.E., Broome, J.E., Dextrase, A.J., Gillespie, A., Mandrak, N.E., Poesch, M.S., Reid, S.M. and N. Vachon. (2019) Reintroduction of fishes in Canada: a review of research progress for SARA-listed species. Environmental Reviews 27(4): 575-599.

Citation: Lamothe,K.A., Drake, D.A.R., Pitcher, T.E., Broome, J.E., Dextrase, A.J., Gillespie, A., Mandrak, N.E., Poesch, M.S., Reid, S.M. and N. Vachon. (2019) Reintroduction of fishes in Canada: a review of research progress for SARA-listed species. Environmental Reviews 27(4): 575-599.

Abstract

Fishes are among the most threatened taxa in Canada with over 70 species, subspecies, and/or Designatable Units presently listed for protection under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Protecting these species requires a diverse set of strategies based on the best-available data and information. One strategy identified in Canadian federal recovery strategies for improving the status of SARA-listed fishes is species reintroduction, which involves the release of individuals into areas from which they have been extirpated with the goal of re-establishing self-sustaining populations. The success of reintroduction relies on a comprehensive understanding of species life history and ecology, with considerations around population genetics and genomics. However, SARA-listed species are some of the most poorly known species in Canada due to their rarity and relative lack of research investment prior to the enactment of SARA. As a result, SARA-listed species have the most to lose if reintroduction activities are not carefully researched, planned, and executed. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to present an accessible summary on the state of reintroduction science for SARA-listed fishes in Canada with the hope of motivating future research to support reintroduction activities. We focus our review on 14 SARA-listed freshwater or anadromous fishes identified as candidates for reintroduction in federal recovery strategies. We follow our species-specific summaries with guidance on how basic research questions in population ecology, habitat science, and threat science provide a critical foundation for addressing knowledge gaps in reintroduction science. Subsequently, we identify the importance of genetic and genomic techniques for informing future research on the reintroduction of SARA-listed species. We conclude with recommendations for active, experimental approaches for moving reintroduction efforts forward for recovering Canadian fishes.

Voted as Editor’s Choice for 2019!

Rudolfsen, T.*, Ruppert, J.W.R.*, Davis, C., Taylor, R., Watkinson, D. and M.S. Poesch (2019) Habitat use and hybridization between the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.) and Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus). Freshwater Biology 64(3): 391-404.

Citation: Rudolfsen, T.*, Ruppert, J.W.R.*, Davis, C., Taylor, R., Watkinson, D. and M.S. Poesch (2019) Habitat use and hybridization between the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.) and Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus). Freshwater Biology 64(3): 391-404.

Abstract

Anthropogenic factors such as land-use change, pollution and climate change, can cause fragmentation and reduce the amount of habitat by altering preferred conditions. This process can also bring about novel species interactions and, in some cases, create or alter levels of hybridization between closely related species. We assessed the threat of hybridization to persistence of the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.) and the Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus) in the Flathead River drainage, British Columbia, Canada. Using 731 genetic samples, 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci and mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase sequences, we assessed: (1) if there are differences in the distribution of Rocky Mountain Sculpin between contemporary and historical (35 years ago) records, (2) if hybridization is symmetrical in terms of sex specific parental contributions, and (3) if habitat preferences contribute to the distribution of pure parental and hybrid populations. We identified three hybrid locations and found that Rocky Mountain Sculpin have a distribution (1200 – 1902 m) that far exceeds the range limit reported 35 years ago (1200 – 1372 m). Additionally, hybrid mating appears to involve similar proportions of parents of both sexes from each species. Lastly, elevation, water conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen are significant factors predicting the presence of parental species. Only elevation was significant to hybrid presence. The contrasting associations of parental species with different habitat types appears to influence the extent and distribution of hybridization.

*Lab members:   Tyana Rudolfsen,  Jonathan Ruppert, Mark Poesch. Check out opportunities in the lab!

Ruppert, J.L.W.*, James, P.M.A., Taylor, R., Rudolfsen, T.*, Veillard, M.*, Davis, C., Watkinson, D. and Poesch, M.S. (2017) Riverscape genetic structure of a threatened and dispersal limited freshwater species, the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.). Conservation Genetics 18: 925-937.

Citation: Ruppert, J.L.W.*, James, P.M.A., Taylor, R., Rudolfsen, T.*, Veillard, M.*, Davis, C., Watkinson, D. and Poesch, M.S. 2017. Riverscape genetic structure of a threatened and dispersal limited freshwater species, the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.). Conservation Genetics 18: 925-937.

Abstract

Understanding the movement ability and the spatial scale(s) of population genetic structure of species can together better ‘tune’ management objectives to prevent potential range contraction and population declines. We studied the Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.), a threatened species in Canada, to demonstrate the utility of using two complementary approaches to assess connectivity of a species. To do so, we used Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags with a stationary tracking array (n = 223) to track movement and genetic data (n = 1,015) from nine microsatellite loci to assess genetic population structure. The PIT tag results indicated that Rocky Mountain Sculpin are sedentary; approximately 50% of individuals only moved a maximum distance of 10 meters (upstream or downstream) over a 5-month period. Genetic analyses indicated that at the spatial scale of our study area (5500 km2), watershed structure (river basins) is the main geographic feature influencing population genetic structure. We used the Bayesian clustering tool STRUCTURE, which suggested four distinct sub-populations of Rocky Mountain Sculpin in Canada. Genetic structure at finer spatial scales (within basins and sub-basins) appears to be influenced by fluvial distance (i.e., geographic distance along a river) and elevation change between sample locations (i.e., isolation-by-distance and isolation-by-environment). Combining movement and genetic analyses provides complimentary evidence of limited dispersal in Rocky Mountain Sculpin and highlights that both approaches together can provide broader insight into connectivity between populations that may ultimately help to aid future management decisions.

*Lab members: Jonathan RuppertTyana RudolfsenMarie VeillardMark Poesch. Check out opportunities in the lab!

STRUCTURE results showing mean assignment of individuals into four clusters and sorted by geographic locatoins. Geographic locations are abbreviated as FH: Flathead River, LC: Lee Creek, STM: St Mary River and NM: North Milk River.