Restoration‐mediated secondary contact leads to introgression of alewife ecotypes separated by a colonial‐era dam
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Restoration‐mediated secondary contact leads to introgression of alewife ecotypes separated by a colonial‐era dam

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    Evol Appl. 2020 Apr; 13(4): 652–664.
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    Secondary contact may have important implications for ecological and evolutionary processes; however, few studies have tracked the outcomes of secondary contact from its onset in natural ecosystems. We evaluated an anadromous alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) reintroduction project in Rogers Lake (Connecticut, USA), which contains a landlocked alewife population that was isolated as a result of colonial‐era damming. After access to the ocean was restored, adult anadromous alewife were stocked into the lake. We assessed anadromous juvenile production, the magnitude and direction of introgression, and the potential for competition between ecotypes. We obtained fin clips from all adult alewife stocked into the lake during the restoration and a sample of juveniles produced in the lake two years after the stocking began. We assessed the ancestry of juveniles using categorical assignment and pedigree reconstruction with newly developed microhaplotype genetic markers. Anadromous alewives successfully spawned in the lake and hybridized with the landlocked population. Parentage assignments revealed that male and female anadromous fish contributed equally to juvenile F1 hybrids. The presence of landlocked backcrosses shows that some hybrids were produced within the first two years of secondary contact, matured in the lake, and reproduced. Therefore, introgression appears directional, from anadromous into landlocked, in the lake environment. Differences in estimated abundance of juveniles of different ecotypes in different habitats were also detected, which may reduce competition between ecotypes as the restoration continues. Our results illustrate the utility of restoration projects to study the outcomes of secondary contact in real ecosystems.
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