Using multiple sources during reintroduction of a locally extinct population benefits survival and reproduction of an endangered freshwater fish

Maiko Lutz, Zeb D. Tonkin, Jian D.L. Yen, Glen Johnson, Brett Ingram, Joanne Sharley, Jarod Lyon, David G. Chapple, Paul Sunnucks, Alexandra Pavlova

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Through using different sources, population reintroductions can create genetically diverse populations at low risk of harmful inbreeding and well equipped for adaptation to future environments. Genetic variation from one source can mask locally nonoptimal alleles from another, thereby enhancing adaptive potential and population persistence. We assessed the outcomes in survival, growth and reproduction of using two differentiated sources (genetically diverse Yarra and moderately diverse Dartmouth) for translocations and stocking to reintroduce the endangered Australian freshwater Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica into the Ovens River. For stocking, same- and different-population parents (“cross-types”) were used during hatchery production. Genetic samples and data on individual fish were collected over three years of monitoring the Ovens. We genetically assigned Ovens fish to their broodstock parents and tested whether cross-type and genetic dissimilarity between parents are associated with offspring survival, and whether cross-type and parental dissimilarity or individual genetic diversity are associated with somatic growth rates of stocked fish. We genetically identified translocated fish and assessed local recruit ancestry. Of 296 Ovens fish, 31.1% were inferred to be stocked, 1.3% translocated and 67.6% locally born. Cross-type strongly predicted survival of stocked offspring: those with two Yarra parents had the highest survival, followed by offspring with two-population, then Dartmouth, ancestry. Of the Ovens recruits, 59.5% had Yarra, 33.5% two-population and 7.0% Dartmouth ancestry, despite 67% of stocked and 98% of translocated fish originating from Dartmouth. Offspring with two Yarra parents grew faster than offspring of Dartmouth or two-population ancestry. Although Dartmouth fish appear to be less fit in the Ovens compared to Yarra fish, possibly due to deleterious variation or genetic or plastic maladaptation, they contribute to the reintroduced population through local interbreeding with Yarra fish and relatively high survival of stocked offspring of two-population ancestry. Thus, combining compatible stocks is likely to benefit restoration of other wildlife populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-964
Number of pages15
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • genetic diversity
  • genetic management
  • genetic monitoring
  • multiple source populations
  • offspring survival
  • population reintroduction
  • recruitment
  • stocking
  • translocation

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