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Title: Fitness reduction and potential extinction of wild populations of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, as a result of interactions with escaped farm salmon
Authors: McGinnity, Philip
Prodohl, Paulo
Ferguson, Andy
Hynes, Rosaleen
Ó Maoiléidigh, Niall
Baker, Natalie
Cotter, Deirdre
O'Hea, Brendan
Cooke, Declan
Rogan, Ger
Taggart, John
Cross, Tom
Keywords: escaped farm salmon
common garden experiment
DNA profiling
outbreeding depression
lifetime success
extinction vortex
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: McGinnity, P., Prodo, P., Ferguson, A., Hynes, R., Ó Maoileidigh, N., Baker, N., Cotter, D., O'Hea, B., Cooke, D., Rogan, G., Taggart, J., and Cross, T. Fitness reduction and potential extinction of wild populations of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, as a result of interactions with escaped farm salmon. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, 270: 2443-2450.
Series/Report no.: ;270
Abstract: The high level of escapes from Atlantic salmon farms, up to two million fishes per year in the North Atlantic, has raised concern about the potential impact on wild populations. We report on a twogeneration experiment examining the estimated lifetime successes, relative to wild natives, of farm, F1 and F2 hybrids and BC1 backcrosses to wild and farm salmon. Offspring of farm and ‘hybrids’ (i.e. all F1, F2 and BC1 groups) showed reduced survival compared with wild salmon but grew faster as juveniles and displaced wild parr, which as a group were significantly smaller. Where suitable habitat for these emigrant parr is absent, this competition would result in reduced wild smolt production. In the experimental conditions, where emigrants survived downstream, the relative estimated lifetime success ranged from 2% (farm) to 89% (BC1 wild) of that of wild salmon, indicating additive genetic variation for survival. Wild salmon primarily returned to fresh water after one sea winter (1SW) but farm and ‘hybrids’ produced proportionately more 2SW salmon. However, lower overall survival means that this would result in reduced recruitment despite increased 2SW fecundity. We thus demonstrate that interaction of farm with wild salmon results in lowered fitness, with repeated escapes causing cumulative fitness depression and potentially an extinction vortex in vulnerable populations.
Description: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, [Issue 270, (October 2003)] doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2520,
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