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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Monday, November 2 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Characterization of the Migratory Phenotype of Lake Sturgeon

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Justine Whitaker and Amy Welsh, West Virginia University; Darryl Hondorp, U.S. Geological Survey; James Boase, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Stuart Welsh and George Merovich, West Virginia University

In Lake St. Clair of the Great Lakes system, lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) are partial migrants, with some individuals out-migrating to lakes and others residing in the river year-round. To characterize the migratory phenotype, we analyzed morphometrics, epigenetics, and genetic differentiation using neutral markers. Blood samples and photographs were collected from 150 telemetered fish. Genetic differentiation was analyzed using microsatellites to determine if there was gene flow between the river residents and the lake migrators. Lake sturgeon (n=153) were analyzed at 12 microsatellite loci and Bayesian analysis was performed to determine population differentiation. Based on the microsatellite loci, it appeared that there is only one population in the St. Clair River system, indicating gene flow among river residents and out-migrators. We used photographs to obtain 17 morphometric characters for 60 telemetered fish (35 residents, and 25 out-migrators). Morphometric data, analyzed with Principal component analysis (PCA), did not support morphologic differences between migratory phenotypes. For the epigenetic analysis, differential methylation was measured using the methylation sensitive (MS)-AFLP protocol on 14 individuals (7 migrants and 7 residents). An AMOVA performed for individual loci detected two restriction sites that were nearly statistically different (ɸ=0.05, P=0.063). Locus 118 and 153 were methylated in four of seven individuals of the migrant phenotype, but were unmethylated in all resident individuals. Two additional years of data will be added to increase the power of this analysis. It appears epigenetic changes were the only differences between the two phenotypes and may be the most useful tool for evaluating rapid adaptation in the presence of substantial gene flow.

Monday November 2, 2015 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Ballroom Salon A

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