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SNP analyses and acoustic tagging reveal multiple origins and widespread dispersal of invasive brown trout in the Falkland Islands

Jessica Minett, Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, Halina Sobolewska, Paul Brickle, Glenn T. Crossin, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

Evolutionary Applications, Volume: 14, Issue: 8, Pages: 2134 - 2144

Swansea University Authors: Jessica Minett, Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/eva.13274

Abstract

Biological invasions are important causes of biodiversity loss, particularly in remote islands. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) have been widely introduced throughout the Southern Hemisphere, impacting endangered native fauna, particularly galaxiid fishes, through predation and competition. However, due...

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Published in: Evolutionary Applications
ISSN: 1752-4571 1752-4571
Published: Wiley 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa57977
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Abstract: Biological invasions are important causes of biodiversity loss, particularly in remote islands. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) have been widely introduced throughout the Southern Hemisphere, impacting endangered native fauna, particularly galaxiid fishes, through predation and competition. However, due to their importance for sport fishing and aquaculture farming, attempts to curtail the impacts of invasive salmonids have generally been met with limited support and the best prospects for protecting native galaxiids is to predict where and how salmonids might disperse. We analysed 266 invasive brown trout from 14 rivers and ponds across the Falkland Islands as well as 32 trout from three potential source populations, using a panel of 592 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and acoustic tagging, to ascertain their origins and current patterns of dispersal. We identified four genetically distinct clusters with high levels of genetic diversity and low admixture, likely reflecting the different origins of the invasive brown trout populations. Our analysis suggests that many trout populations in the Falklands may have originated from one of the donor populations analysed (River Wey). The highest genetic diversity was observed in the rivers with the greatest number of introductions and diverse origins, while the lowest diversity corresponded to a location without documented introductions, likely colonized by natural dispersal. High levels of gene flow indicated widespread migration of brown trout across the Falkland Islands, likely aided by anadromous dispersal. This is supported by data from acoustically tagged fish, three of which were detected frequently moving between two rivers ~26 km apart. Our results suggest that, without containment measures, brown trout may invade the last remaining refuges for the native endangered Aplochiton spp. We provide new insights into the origin and dispersal of invasive brown trout in the Falkland Islands that can pave the way for a targeted approach to limit their impact on native fish fauna.
Keywords: acoustic telemetry; connectivity; gene flow; genetic diversity; invasive species; population origin; Salmo trutta; single nucleotide polymorphisms
College: College of Science
Funders: Swansea University; Fortuna Ltd
Issue: 8
Start Page: 2134
End Page: 2144