• Outbreeding depression in hybrids between spatially separated pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) populations: marine survival, homing ability, and variability in family size

      Gilk, Sara E. (2003-05)
      Hybridization between distinct populations of salmon can cause fitness loss (outbreeding depression), and may result in reduced survival. The erosion of fitness-related traits such as homing ability and change in family size distribution may underlie reduced survival. Out breeding depression was investigated in two independent experiments that made hybrids between geographically separated and genetically divergent pink salmon populations. Control crosses were made from male and female Auke Creek (Southeast Alaska) pink salmon and hybrid crosses were between Auke Creek females and Pillar Creek (Kodiak Island, about 1000km away) males. Parentage assignment from microsatellite analysis improved estimates of survival and straying, and was used to examine variation in family size. The return rates of even-broodyear F 1 control and hybrid fish were similar, but the odd-broodyear F 1 control returns exceeded hybrid returns. The F 2 control returns exceeded hybrid returns in both the even- and odd broodyears. Hybridization did not impair homing ability; weekly surveys in nearby ( - lkm) Waydelich Creek revealed similar straying rates from Auke Creek by both hybrid and control fish in all years. Family data were available only for even-broodyear returns; hybridization did not increase the index of variability (ratio of variance to mean) in family size in these years. Outbreeding depression in hybrids of geographically separated populations demonstrates the potential for introgression of nonnative fish to erode natural production.