Salmon ‘losing distinct genetic differences’

I reported on an article written in October 2010 and posted on the BBC news website about Atlantic salmon and the environmental and genetic challenges they are currently facing in Europe.

A team of biologists conducted a study from 1988 through 2007 that involved in taking tissue samples from 924 adult salmon. These fish were taken from 5 rivers in Asturias, Spain to measure genetic differences among them.

Due to public desire, larger salmon have been introduced to these rivers that select for smaller salmon. The larger salmon have interbred with the local, smaller salmon and phenotypic differences have occurred. The suggested problem with this is that these “hybrid” salmon may not be suited to the climate changes they now face and may lead to a massive plunge in this salmon population.

The study also found that the warmer waters are naturally causing salmon to lose their “homing” abilities and end up in the wrong rivers to spawn.

The biologists stated that “The ability to disentangle the effects of climatic changes and anthropogenic factors (fisheries management practices) is essential for effective long-term conservation of this iconic species.”





One thought on “Salmon ‘losing distinct genetic differences’”

  1. Samantha, great job! This article really illustrates the difficulty of sorting out management and environmental effects on populations. I would be interested to see a more recent article on these fish.

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