Genetic Population Structure and Accuracy of Morphological Assessment in Alosa aestivalis (Blueback Herring) and A. pseudoharengus (Alewife)
Alosa aestivalis and A. pseudoharengus are herring congeners that are important forage species for piscivorous fish and birds. We measured population structure metrics for these species using microsatellite markers. The Southern Gulf of Maine study area allowed the assessment of these species at an inter- and intra-watershed level. We found no detectable population structure within or among watershed for either species which agrees with other recent research. Our results support regional-scale (e.g., Gulf of Maine) plans for management for A. aestivalis and A. pseudoharengus. We found that 5.4% of our samples were hybrids. Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that hybridization and introgression should be management concerns for these species, and precautions should be taken to preserve species barriers. An error rate of morphological identification was calculated by comparing morphological identifications against genetic classifications. We found an overall identification error rate of 16%, which differed significantly from zero (P = 0.008). Managers should also take note of the uncertainty in morphological identifications and adjust stock models and policies accordingly.
Kan, Christopher; Lichter, John; and Douhovnikoff, Vladimir, "Genetic Population Structure and Accuracy of Morphological Assessment in Alosa aestivalis (Blueback Herring) and A. pseudoharengus (Alewife)" (2017). Biology Faculty Publications. 41.