Recruitment Dynamics Of The Invasive Common Carp In a Midwestern Watershed: A Population Genetics Approach

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 8:00 AM
Marriott Ballroom A (The Marriott Little Rock)
Justine Koch , Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN
Loren Miller , Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Saint Paul, MN
Peter W. Sorensen , Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Recent research suggests the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is often invasive in the North American Midwest due to its propensity to exploit shallow basins prone to winter hypoxia for reproduction. It has been shown that seasonally hypoxic basins often support extremely high abundances of young-of-the-year carp, but the fate of these carp is unknown. To determine whether these proposed nurseries serve as a source of recruits at a watershed scale, we used a population genetics approach to investigate carp recruitment in a system of interconnected lakes, ponds, and wetlands in central Minnesota. We collected carp tissue samples (n=939) from all basins throughout the watershed and from individuals moving between lakes and proposed nurseries. Microsatellite analysis revealed 2 genetically distinct strains of carp within the watershed. The spatial distribution and movement patterns observed among the genetically distinct strains of carp revealed patterns in dispersal, colonization, and natal homing consistent with the carp nursery hypothesis. Ongoing research on carp movement patterns and population genetics will enhance our understanding of carp ecology and aid in the development of both population models and targeted management strategies to combat this highly invasive and destructive species.