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Integrating genetic and demographic effects of connectivity on population stability: The case of hatchery trucking in salmon

  • Author(s): Dedrick, AG
  • Baskett, ML
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1086/697581
Abstract

© 2018 by The University of Chicago. Connectivity among populations can have counteracting effects on population stability. Demographically, connectivity can rescue local populations but increase the synchrony across populations. Genetically, connectivity can counteract drift locally but homogenize genotypes across populations. Population independence and diversity underlies system-level buffering against environmental variability, termed the portfolio effect. The portfolio effect has declined in California fall-run Chinook salmon, possibly in part because of the trucking of juvenile hatchery-reared fish for downstream release, which reduces juvenile mortality but increases the connectivity between rivers. We use a dynamical population model to test whether this increased connectivity can explain the loss of the portfolio effect and quantify the relative demographic and genetic contributions to portfolio effect erosion. In the model, populations experience different within-population environmental conditions and the same time-variable ocean conditions, the response to which can depend on a quantitative genetic trait. We find that increased trucking for one population’s hatchery can lead to a loss of the portfolio effect, with a system-level trade-off between increased average abundance and increased variability in abundance. This trade-off is much stronger when we include the effects of genetic homogenization than when we consider demographic synchronization alone. Therefore, genetic homogenization can outweigh demographic synchrony in determining the system-level effect of connectivity.

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