Creating Genetic Management Plans in the Face of Uncertainty: A Case Study of Lake Sturgeon in the Great Lakes

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: 1:40 PM
Pope (Statehouse Convention Center)
Amy Welsh , Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
The creation of genetic management plans can be a useful mechanism for the direct application of population genetic principles to fish conservation and management.  These plans often involve interpreting genetic principles and results into direct management suggestions.  However, there is often a disconnect between the need by managers for objective management targets and the uncertainty concerning how relevant population genetic predictions are to a particular species.  When a genetic management plan is needed for a species of concern, sometimes objective and quantitative targets need to be established despite existing uncertainty.  Genetic stocking guidelines for lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the Great Lakes were established in 2010 based on microsatellite data and these guidelines include quantitative management goals, such as target yearly effective population size and number of years stocking should occur.  Many of these goals were not established based on genetic data from lake sturgeon, but were instead based on population genetic theories.  Since that time, data have been generated showing that the target effective population size in the guidelines may not be sufficient and that adaptive genetic markers are a needed element to effective genetic management.