Genetic diversity over multiple generations of supplementation: an example from Chinook salmon using microsatellite and demographic data

1024 681 Stroud Water Research Center

Eldridge, W., and K. Killebrew. 2008. Conservation Genetics 9(1):13–28.

doi: 10.1007/s10592-007-9298-y


We examined demographic data and microsatellite loci in a supplemented population of Chinook salmon (<em”>Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) seeking evidence of changes in genetic diversity or for reduction of the effective size (Ne) arising from supplementation (i.e., the Ryman-Laikre effect). A supplementation program in the North Fork Stillaguamish River (Washington State, USA) was intended to increase abundance (N) and maintain genetic diversity in the depressed population. Since supplementation expanded in 1986, about 9% of the population has been randomly collected for broodstock. The resulting progeny are released into the wild and comprised 10–60% of all returning adults. Genotypic data were obtained at 14 microsatellite loci from adult samples collected in four years between 1985 and 2001; these data indicated that the allelic richness and expected heterozygosity did not significantly change during this period and that genetic diversity in the captive and wild progeny was similar. The inbreeding and variance Ne estimated from adult escapement between 1974 and 2004 were different for the same generation, but the ratios of effective size to census size were very similar and decreased following supplementation. The variance Ne by the temporal method increased over time, but it is difficult to draw conclusions because of necessary assumptions made during the calculations. Based on these results we conclude that: (1) genetic diversity has been maintained over multiple generations of supplementation; (2) supplementation has not contributed to a loss of genetic diversity; and (3) monitoring genetic effects of supplementation is not straightforward, but it can be useful to look at both demographic and genetic data simultaneously.