Using Genomic Tools to Investigate Adaptive Diversity in Great Lakes Cisco

Grant: # 1700

Grant Amount: $105,000.00

Board Decision Year: 2017

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point - College of Natural Resources (Stevens Point)

College of Natural Resources

Larson, Wesley ([email protected]) 715-346-3150

2017 Ecosystem Health and Sustainable Fish Populations: Ecological and Biological Research to Inform Management - Ecological and biological fisheries research to inform management

Project Details

Historically, cisco were the major forage fish component of the Great Lakes food chain and supported extensive commercial fisheries in multiple Great Lakes. However, anthropogenic impacts have led to massive declines in cisco abundance as well as local and global extirpations of multiple cisco species. Scientists and managers from across the basin have recently emphasized cisco conservation and restoration, but some aspects of cisco taxonomy remain unclear. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point used genomics to investigate the genetic basis of adaptation in cisco. The team genotyped over 30 populations of cisco at thousands of genetic markers using restriction site–associated DNA (RAD) sequencing.

Findings show that the three main Great Lakes cisco forms are highly and consistently differentiated from each other. This finding has major implications for management of cisco, as it indicates that differences among forms are likely to be highly heritable rather than due to phenotypic plasticity. In other words, stocking cisco in a certain environment and expecting them to quickly shift their phenotype to match that environment is likely not feasible. These findings will be important for drafting conservation and management plans, as it is unlikely that forms will re-evolve on nonevolutionary timescales; therefore, the diversity of currently existing forms should be preserved if possible.


View - 2017.1700__Univ_of_WI_Final_Report.pdf