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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:429-445 (2020)  -  DOI:

Beyond hybridization: the genetic impacts of nonreproductive ecological interactions of salmon aquaculture on wild populations

I. R. Bradbury1,*, I. Burgetz2, M. W. Coulson2, E. Verspoor3, J. Gilbey4, S. J. Lehnert1, T. Kess1, T. F. Cross5, A. Vasemägi6,7, M. F. Solberg8, I. A. Fleming9, P. McGinnity5

1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, 80 E White Hills Rd, St. John’s, Newfoundland, A1C 5X1, Canada
2Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 200 Kent Street Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E6, Canada
3Rivers and Lochs Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, IV3 5SQ, UK
4Marine Scotland Science, Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory, Pitlochry, Scotland PH16 5LB, UK
5School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College, Cork, T12 YN60, Ireland
6Chair of Aquaculture, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
7Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Freshwater Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 17893 Drottningholm, Sweden
8Population Genetics Research Group, Institute of Marine Research, 5817 Bergen, Norway
9Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Ocean Sciences, St. John’s, Newfoundland, A1C 5S7, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cultured Atlantic salmon Salmo salar are of international socioeconomic value, and the process of domestication has resulted in significant behavioural, morphological, and allelic differences from wild populations. Substantial evidence indicates that direct genetic interactions or interbreeding between wild and escaped farmed Atlantic salmon occurs, genetically altering wild salmon and reducing population viability. However, genetic interactions may also occur through ecological mechanisms (e.g. disease, parasites, predation, competition), both in conjunction with and in the absence of interbreeding. Here we examine existing evidence for ecological and non-reproductive genetic interactions between domestic Atlantic salmon and wild populations and the potential use of genetic and genomic tools to resolve these impacts. Our review identified examples of genetic changes resulting from ecological processes, predominately through pathogen or parasite transmission. In addition, many examples were identified where aquaculture activities have either altered the selective landscape experienced by wild populations or resulted in reductions in population abundance, both of which are consistent with the widespread occurrence of indirect genetic changes. We further identify opportunities for genetic or genomic methods to quantify these impacts, though careful experimental design and pre-impact comparisons are often needed to accurately attribute genetic change to aquaculture activities. Our review indicates that ecological and non-reproductive genetic interactions are important, and further study is urgently needed to support an integrated understanding of aquaculture-ecosystem interactions, their implications for ecosystem stability, and the development of potential mitigation and management strategies.

KEY WORDS: Atlantic salmon · Aquaculture · Management · Genetic

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Cite this article as: Bradbury IR, Burgetz I, Coulson MW, Verspoor E and others (2020) Beyond hybridization: the genetic impacts of nonreproductive ecological interactions of salmon aquaculture on wild populations. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:429-445.

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