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Monitoring genetic diversity with new indicators applied to an alpine freshwater top predator

Cite this dataset

Andersson, Anastasia; Karlsson, Sten; Ryman, Nils; Laikre, Linda (2022). Monitoring genetic diversity with new indicators applied to an alpine freshwater top predator [Dataset]. Dryad.


Genetic diversity is the basis for population adaptation and long-term survival, yet rarely considered in biodiversity monitoring. One key issue is the need for useful and straightforward indicators of genetic diversity. We monitored genetic diversity over 40 years (1970-2010) in metapopulations of brown trout (Salmo trutta) inhabiting 27 small mountain lakes representing 10 lake systems in central Sweden using >1200 fish per time point. We tested six newly proposed indicators; three were designed for broad, international use in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD and are currently applied in several countries. The other three were recently elaborated for national use by a Swedish science-management effort and applied for the first time here. The Swedish indicators use molecular genetic data to monitor genetic diversity within and between populations (indicators ΔH and ΔFST, respectively) and assess the effective population size (Ne-indicator). We identified 29 genetically distinct populations, all retained over time. Twelve of the 27 lakes harbored more than one population indicating that brown trout biodiversity hidden as cryptic, sympatric populations are more common than recognized. The Ne indicator showed values below the threshold (Ne≤500) in 20 populations with five showing Ne<100. Statistically significant genetic diversity reductions occurred in several populations. Metapopulation structure appears to buffer against diversity loss; applying the indicators to metapopulations suggest mostly acceptable rates of change in all but one system. The CBD indicators agreed with the Swedish ones but provided less detail. All these indicators are appropriate for managers to initiate monitoring of genetic biodiversity.


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Swedish Research Council for Environment Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

Swedish Research Council

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Carl Tryggers stiftelse för vetenskaplig forskning

Erik Philip-Sörensens stiftelse