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HERGEN Report Summary

Project ID: Q5RS-2001-01370
Funded under: FP5-LIFE QUALITY
Country: Denmark

Genetic structure among populations in Danish waters, Skagerrak/Kattegat and Western Baltic

Genetic structure among herring populations from the Skagerrak to the western Baltic (Rugen) was examined using analysis of nine microsatellite markers. From each of ten spawning locations sampled across two consecutive years we genotyped approximately 200 fish, totalling genetic analysis of 1951 fish. Statistical analyses of allele frequency differences indicated significant population structure among most of the pair-wise samples, and that the differences were stable across the two years. Levels of genetic differentiation followed an isolation-by-distance model, signifying that herring originating from more distant locations also exhibited larger genetic differences.

The examined area spans the transition zone between the deep and highly saline North Sea and the more shallow and brackish Baltic sea, and partial regression analysis incorporating information for genetic, geographic and environmental differences among spawning population indicated that difference in salinity levels on spawning sites was highly correlated with genetic differences, irrespective of geographic distances among populations. This can be interpreted as an indication that genetic differences among herring populations are maintained by salinity-correlated selective differences on spawning sites. Although salinity is known to be a strong selective factor in other organisms, direct evidence for salinity acting as a selective factor shaping population structure in herring is still needed. The implication of the study is that herring of different geographical origin, in spite of their extensive migratory behaviour, show reproductive isolation and that recruitment to a large extent is locally determined.


Dorte BEKKEVOLD, (Researcher)
Tel.: +45-892-13130
Fax: +45-892-13150
Record Number: 44171 / Last updated on: 2008-10-24
Information source: e-TIP
Collaboration sought: Available for consultancy, Further research or development support, Information exchange/Training
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