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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Early-life fitness trait variation among divergent European and North American farmed and Newfoundland wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations

    Shahinur S. Islam*, Brendan F. Wringe, Kristin Bøe, Ian R. Bradbury, Ian A. Fleming

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: It has long been clear that interbreeding between domesticated and wild Atlantic salmon can lead to negative fitness consequences for native populations. Few studies, however, have examined these consequences at critical early life stages, particularly in the context of distinct geographical and ancestral relationships among populations as well domestication selection. In Newfoundland (NF), Canada, while the majority of aquaculture sites use North American (NA) Saint John River strain, site-specific permission has been granted to farm a strain of European origin (EO). We designed a common-garden experiment to compare fitness-related traits (e.g., development time, survival, size and growth) at different early-life stages (eye development, hatch and yolk absorption) among EO and NA farmed, two NF wild and F1 hybrid groups. Significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed in development time, survival, growth and energy conversion among farmed, F1 hybrid and wild populations. While pure populations (farmed and wild) differed amongst one another, we found few differences in fitness-related traits between F1 hybrids and their maternal wild/farmed strains. This suggests that the early-life fitness consequences of F1 hybridization will be largely manifested through the action of maternal effects. Additonally, significant associations between the maternal effects of egg size and alevin development time, size, survival, growth, condition, and energy conversion efficiency were found. These findings suggest that early-life fitness-related trait differences among farmed, wild and their related F1 hybrids are generated by the geographic and ancestral relationship and maternal effects of egg size, and less so by domestication selection.