Conservation Genetics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 91–104 | Cite as

Reduced Genetic Diversity and Effective Population Size in an Endangered Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) Population from Maine, USA

  • Christopher Lage
  • Irv Kornfield


Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations in Maine, USA, are listed as a Distinct Population Segment under the U.S. Endangered Species Act due to reduced spawning runs and juvenile densities. Whenever possible, optimal conservation strategies for endangered populations should incorporate both present and historical knowledge of genetic variation. We assayed genetic diversity at seven microsatellite loci and at the mitochondrial ND1 gene in an endangered wild population of Atlantic salmon captured from the Dennys River from 1963 to 2001 using DNA’s extracted from archival scale and tissue samples. We examined temporal trends of genetic diversity, population structure, and effective population size (Ne). Overall temporal trends of diversity and Ne show significant reductions from 1963 to 2001 raising the possibility that current restoration efforts may be impacted by historical loss of diversity potentially critical to adaptation. Although our results suggest genetic stability in this population from 1963 to 1981, significant differentiation was observed for both the 1995 and 2001 samples compared with all other temporal samples. The presence of an ND1 mtDNA haplotype in this population, historically observed only in European and Newfoundland stocks, may represent previously unrecognized local wild diversity or, alternatively, may represent introgression from non-native fish.


Atlantic salmon effective population size endangered introgression microsatellite mtDNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.University of Maine, School of Marine SciencesOronoUSA

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