Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Population and family structure of brown trout, Salmo trutta, in a Mediterranean stream

Manuel Vera A B , Nuria Sanz A E , Michael M. Hansen C , Ana Almodóvar D and José-Luis García-Marín A

A Laboratori d’Ictiologia Genètica, Universitat de Girona, Campus Montilivi, E-17071 Girona, Spain.

B Current address: Departamento de Xenética, Facultad Veterinaria, Campus Lugo USC, E-27002-Lugo, Spain.

C DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Vejlsøvej 39, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.

D Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040 Madrid, José Antonio Novais 2, Ciudad Universitaria, Spain.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 61(6) 672-681
Submitted: 28 August 2009  Accepted: 11 December 2009   Published: 25 June 2010


The physical arrangement of closely related individuals is expected to significantly influence the pattern of population genetic structure. For example, if related individuals are non-randomly distributed and included in samples, this may lead to exaggerated conclusions about genetic differentiation. In the present study, we compared population structure v. family relationships of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) along a Mediterranean stream (Pyrenees) by using eight microsatellite loci. Results showed low levels of genetic (FST) differentiation between collections in a 6.5-km transect along the stream, and a significant correlation between genetic and geographical distance matrices, indicating a weak population structure associated with spatial distribution. Our data also indicated that geographical proximity of related individuals in the youngest (0+, 1+) cohorts probably was associated with limited dispersal of younger brown trout from spawning redds. Family relationships provided evidence, however, for movement of adult trout over distances of a few kilometres that probably contributed to the low observed differentiation. Dispersal of adult Mediterranean trout contrasts with the clustering of related older trout observed for some north European rivers and could be related to the reduced productivity in southern stream basins.

Additional keywords: family reconstruction, fish movement, isolation by distance.


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