Pattern of Genetic Recovery in Daphnia Populations Following Experimental Removal of Fish

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The establishment and maintenance of high levels of genetic diversity is an important consideration for populations that have experienced recent demographic collapse. Populations that have undergone demographic contraction or have been recently established generally lack standing adaptive variation. The level of adaptive genetic variation is a key determinant of population persistence, especially in changing environments, since dramatic changes in environmental conditions or community composition may impose severe or novel selective pressures. We obtained data for nuclear markers and conducted a common-garden experiment to assess the current levels of molecular genetic variation. Our results suggest that in the approximately eight years between fish removal and sampling these populations have attained levels of genetic diversity comparable to surrounding populations that have persisted both with and without fish. The goal of this study is to examine the molecular genetic recovery of two Daphnia populations from the Sierra Nevada that were extirpated until the removal of nonnative fish roughly eight years prior to sampling.

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