Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics Webinar Series

Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics

These webinars provide biologist and managers with the latest techniques in conservation genetics.

This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use.  Mention of any product names, companies, Web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.


Date: Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Time: 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Genetic rescue in fragmented populations of brook trout

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Archive: If you are unable to attend this webinar, it will be recorded and posted to the Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics Webinar Series Archive approximately 1-2 weeks after the presentation.

Dr. Andrew Whiteley, University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Fragmentation effects on natural populations are pervasive and have wide-ranging management implications. I will focus on native populations of the brook trout in eastern North America and discuss fragmentation effects on freshwater muselheadwater stream systems from a genetics and evolutionary perspective. Brook trout populations are highly fragmented, particularly in the southern portion of the native range. We have demonstrated that this leads to small, genetically depauperate populations that are likely to have lower resilience to environmental change. We are initiating a genetic monitoring program that will help identify population strongholds and isolated populations that are currently at most jeopardy. The effective number of breeders (Nb) is a genetic metric that appears to be extremely promising in this regard. Once the most threatened populations are identified, a possible management action involves the movement of a small number of individuals form a nearby source population, so-called genetic rescue. We have an ongoing experimental test of genetic rescue underway in a series of four brook trout populations in Virginia. I will summarize these results from this experimental work and discuss genetic rescue in the context of additional management options to maintain population resilience.


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Marilyn Williams, Training Technician, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7940; e-mail


Matthew Patterson, Course Leader, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7473; e-mail