AN ECOLOGICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO STRAlNS OF WILD BROOK TROUT, Salvelinus fontinalis

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Wes Cornelison (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/

Abstract: The southern Appalachian Mountains are home to an endemic strain of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis. Protein electrophoretic studies have demonstrated that native Southern Appalachian and northern hatchery-derived wild populations of brook trout are fixed for different alleles for creatine kinase (CK-A2) locus and show significant heterogeneity in allele frequency between strains at an additional 10 of 11 polymorphic loci. The differences observed in these studies are indicative of a substantial genetic divergence within the species and are of a magnitude consistent with sub-specific differentiation recognized among other saImonids. Electrophoretic studies have identified wild brook trout populations in southern Appalachia as being: 1) unaltered native southern Appalachian brook trout versus 2) purely northern-hatchery derived origin or 3) mixed genetic origin, the result of interbreeding between the two strains.A series of experiments measuring thermal and acidity tolerances and comparing growth/diet characteristics were conducted to determine if any ecological differences exist between these two strains of wild brook 1rout. Brook trout were collected from various streams and transported to our research facilities where they were individually marked and placed under experimental conditions. Northern strain brook 110utdemonstrated a significantly higher thermal and acidity tolerance 'When compared to southern strain brook trout. Diet comparisons revealed northern strain brook trout consumed twice as many organisms as southern strain fish and distribution of prey items across taxa was found to be significantly different between strains. Growth rates were similar between strains but northern brook trout demonstrated a significantly higher survival rate when compared to southern strain brook trout. Results of these experiments indicate northern brook trout outperformed southern strain brook trout under the conditions of this experimental system.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2005

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