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Influence of Forest Road Culverts and Waterfalls on the Fine-Scale Distribution of Brook Trout Genetic Diversity in a Boreal Watershed

Abstract : Habitat fragmentation has become an increasing concern in conservation biology and is of prime importance with the expansion of forest road networks toward boreal and arctic regions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of artificial and natural barriers to fish movement on the fine-scale distribution of genetic diversity in Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis. We genotyped 995 individuals sampled from 25 locations in a boreal watershed fragmented by culverts and natural waterfalls. Using a landscape genetics approach, we tested whether the presence of both types of barrier resulted in decreased genetic diversity and increased divergence within isolated locations. Results showed that genetic divergence was enhanced between sites separated by barriers and that genetic diversity was reduced within sites located upstream of barriers. Moreover, the observed changes in levels of divergence and diversity were correlated with the number of barriers. Overall, our results suggested that the effects of culverts and natural waterfalls were similar. To our knowledge, this is the first study illustrating the effects of forest road culverts and natural waterfalls on the distribution of genetic diversity in Brook Trout within a boreal watershed. We discuss our results in the context of boreal forest road network expansion and in light of the need to better understand the potential impacts of road infrastructure on the long-term persistence of fish populations.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02921379
Contributor : Charles Perrier <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 10:13:26 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 3:34:58 AM

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Jean-Baptiste Torterotot, Charles Perrier, Normand Bergeron, Louis Bernatchez. Influence of Forest Road Culverts and Waterfalls on the Fine-Scale Distribution of Brook Trout Genetic Diversity in a Boreal Watershed. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, Taylor & Francis, 2014, 143 (6), pp.1577-1591. ⟨10.1080/00028487.2014.952449⟩. ⟨hal-02921379⟩

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