Population Genetic Differentiation of Walleye (Sander vitreus) across the Eastern Highlands of the United States

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Date
2023-12-29
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MDPI
Abstract

Walleye is an important sportfish across eastern North America, is commercially fished in the Laurentian Great Lakes region, and has been introduced outside its native range. Thirty-eight Walleye populations within six watersheds across the Eastern Highlands and other portions of the native range were screened at eight microsatellite DNA loci to better understand evolutionary history and to inform fishery management and conservation efforts. Population genetic variation showed divergent assemblages of populations, respectively, living in the Mobile Bay, Mississippi River, Eastern Highlands (Tennessee, New, and Ohio Rivers), and Great Lakes drainages today. All estimates of effective numbers of breeding individuals were under 25, and all populations within all watersheds had ~15–20% inter-individual relatedness, likely attributable to the effects of both natural demographic processes and stocking. The extent of Eastern Highlands Walleye includes both the Ohio and Tennessee River basins.

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Harris, S.C.; Palmer, G.; Stepien, C.A.; Hallerman, E.M. Population Genetic Differentiation of Walleye (Sander vitreus) across the Eastern Highlands of the United States. Fishes 2023, 9, 15.