RESEARCH TOPICSAquatic Ecology, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
Conserving genetic diversity and local adaptations are management priorities for wild populations of exploited species, which increasingly are subject to climate change, habitat loss, and pollution. These constitute growing concerns for the walleye Sander vitreus, an ecologically and economically valuable North American temperate fish with large Laurentian Great Lakes’ fisheries. This study compares genetic diversity and divergence patterns across its widespread native range using mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and nine nuclear DNA microsatellite (μsat) loci, examining historic and contemporary influences. We analyze the genetic and morphological characters of a putative endemic variant– “blue pike” S. v. “glaucus” –described from Lakes Erie and Ontario, which became extinct. Walleye with turquoise-colored mucus also are evaluated, since some have questioned whether these are related to the “blue pike”.