Introgression affects Salmo trutta juvenile life‐history traits generations after stocking with non‐native strains

Dorte Bekkevold*, Francois Besnier, Thomas Frank‐Gopolos, Einar E. Nielsen, Kevin A. Glover

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introgression of non-native conspecifics changes the genetic composition of wild populations, potentially leading to loss of local adaptations and fitness declines. However, long-term data from wild populations are still relatively few. Here, we studied the effects of introgression in a Danish brown trout (Salmo trutta, L.) population, subjected to intensive stocking with domesticated hatchery fish of non-native origin. We used wild-caught genetically wild and admixed trout as well as fish from the partly domesticated hatchery strain used for stocking the river up until ~15 years prior to this study, to produce 22 families varying in hatchery/wild admixture. Following a replicated common-garden experiment conducted in fish tanks from first feeding through 23 weeks at 7, 12, and 16°C, we observed a significant positive relationship between family admixture and fish size upon termination, an effect observed through all levels of admixture. Furthermore, the admixture effect was most distinct at the higher rearing temperatures. Although the hatchery strain used for stocking had been in culture for ~7 generations, it had not been deliberately selected for increased growth. These data thus demonstrate: (i) that growth had increased in the hatchery strain even in the absence of deliberate directional selection for this trait, (ii) that the increasing effect of admixture by temperature could represent inadvertent selection for performance in the hatchery strain at higher temperatures, and most significantly, (iii) that despite undergoing up to five generations of natural selection in the admixed wild population, the genetically increased growth potential was still detectable and thus persistent. Our findings suggest that altered growth patterns and potentially their cascading effects are of importance to the severity of hatchery/wild introgression, especially under changing-climate scenarios and are of general significance to conservation practitioners seeking to evaluate long-term effects of intra-specific hybridization including under recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13725
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number7
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Admixture
  • Common garden
  • Domestication
  • Hybrid
  • Interaction
  • Reaction norm
  • Salmonid
  • Temperature


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