Mitochondrial DNA variability in the endangered razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus): Analysis of hatchery stocks and implications for captive propagation

Thomas E. Dowling, W. L. Minckley, Paul C. Marsh, Elliott S. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

The razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) is a large, long-lived catostomid fish endemic to the Colorado River drainage of western North America, endangered because of recruitment failure. Efforts to preserve the species have emphasized artificial propagation and reintroduction. Given the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in such a program, we examined mitochondrial DNA diversity in a source population (Lake Mohave, Arizona-Nevada) and three hatchery-produced year classes (1987, 1989, 1990). The source contained considerable variation, indicated by high haplotype diversity (ĥ = 0.97) and a large number of unique haplotypes (17 in 25 individuals). Diversity also was high in the 1987 (ĥ = 0.89, 6 haplotypes in 10 individuals) and 1989 hatchery-produced year classes (ĥ = 0.91, 7 in 11), but significantly lower in the 1990 year class (ĥ = 0.71, 4 in 10). Low diversity in the last class was likely because of differences among females in fecundity, viability of progeny, or both. Because natural populations have collapsed throughout the species' range, we must identify methods that preserve the most diversity. We examined three potential alternatives: standard hatchery propagation, natural spawning in predator-free environments, and protective custody of larvae collected from the lake with reintroduction after growth to a size likely to survive. The last is the preferred alternative and should be pursued as the most cost-effective option for preserving genetic diversity in the razorback sucker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalConservation Biology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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