An investigation of genetic connectivity shines a light on the relative roles of isolation by distance and oceanic currents in three diadromous fish species
journal contributionposted on 2021-11-25, 03:05 authored by James O'DwyerJames O'Dwyer, Nicholas MurphyNicholas Murphy, Z Tonkin, J Lyon, W Koster, D Dawson, F Amtstaetter, Katherine HarrissonKatherine Harrisson
Understanding connectivity is crucial for the effective conservation and management of biota. However, measuring connectivity directly is challenging and it is often inferred based on assumptions surrounding dispersal potential, such as environmental history and species life history traits. Genetic tools are often underutilised, yet can infer connectivity reliably. Here, we characterise and compare the genetic connectivity and genetic diversity of three diadromous Australian fish species: common galaxias (Galaxias maculatus), tupong (Pseudaphritis urvillii) and Australian grayling (Prototroctes maraena). For each species, we investigate the extent of genetic connectivity across a study region in south-eastern Australia (∼700 km). We further determine the potential roles of contemporary ocean currents in shaping the patterns of genetic connectivity observed. Individuals across multiple rivers were sampled and >3000 single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped for each species. We found differences in genetic connectivity for the three species: common galaxias were highly connected, and Australian grayling and tupong exhibited patterns of isolation by distance. The degree of genetic connectivity for tupong and Australian grayling appeared unrelated to oceanic currents. This study indicates that the degree of connectivity for different diadromous species can vary greatly despite broadly similar life history strategies, highlighting the potential value of genetic tools for informing species-specific management plans.