Genetic population structure of the round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum) in North America: multiple markers reveal glacial refugia and regional subdivision

Morgan TD, Graham CF, McArthur AG, Raphenya AR, Boreham DR, Manzon RG, Wilson JY, Lance SL, Howland KL, Patrick PH, Somers CM

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2018 75(6):836-849.

Round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum) have a broad, disjunct range across northern North America and Eurasia, and little is known about their genetic population structure. We performed genetic analyses of round whitefish from 17 sites across its range using nine microsatellites, two mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) loci, and 4918 to 8835 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci. Our analyses identified deep phylogenetic division between eastern and western portions of the range, likely indicative of origins from at least two separate Pleistocene glacial refugia. Regionally, microsatellites and SNPs identified congruent patterns in subdivision, and population structure was consistent with expectations based on hydrologic connectivity. Within the Laurentian Great Lakes, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario were identified as key areas of interest. Lake Huron appears to be a contemporary source population for several other Great Lakes, and Lake Ontario contains a genetically discrete group of round whitefish. In all cases, multiple genetic markers yielded similar patterns, but SNPs offered substantially enhanced resolution. We conclude that round whitefish have population subdivision on several scales important for understanding their evolutionary history and conservation planning.

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