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Title: Monitoring the Reproductive Success of Naturally Spawning Hatchery and Natural Spring Chinook Salmon in the Wenatchee River, 2008-2009 Progress Report.

We investigated differences in the statistical power to assign parentage between an artificially propagated and wild salmon population. The propagated fish were derived from the wild population, and are used to supplement its abundance. Levels of genetic variation were similar between the propagated and wild groups at 11 microsatellite loci, and exclusion probabilities were >0.999999 for both groups. The ability to unambiguously identify a pair of parents for each sampled progeny was much lower than expected, however. Simulations demonstrated that the proportion of cases the most likely pair of parents were the true parents was lower for propagated parents than for wild parents. There was a clear relationship between parentage assignment ability and the degree of linkage disequilibrium, the estimated effective number of breeders that produced the parents, and the size of the largest family within the potential parents. If a stringent threshold for parentage assignment was used, estimates of relative fitness were biased downward for the propagated fish. The bias appeared to be largely eliminated by either fractionally assigning progeny among parents in proportion to their likelihood of parentage, or by assigning progeny to the most likely set of parents without using a statistical threshold. We used a DNA-basedmore » parentage analysis to measure the relative reproductive success of hatchery- and natural-origin spring Chinook salmon in the natural environment. Both male and female hatchery-origin fish produced far fewer juvenile progeny per parent when spawning naturally than did natural origin fish. Differences in age structure, spawning location, weight and run timing were responsible for some of the difference in fitness. Male size and age had a large influence on fitness, with larger and older males producing more offspring than smaller or younger individuals. Female size had a significant effect on fitness, but the effect was much smaller than the effect of size on male fitness. For both sexes, run time had a smaller but still significant effect on fitness, with earlier returning fish favored. Spawning location within the river had a significant effect on fitness for both males and females, and for females explained most of the reduced fitness observed for hatchery fish in this population. While differences have been reported in the relative reproductive success of hatchery and naturally produced salmonids Oncorhynchus spp., factors explaining the differences are often confounded. We examined the spawning site habitat and redd structure variables of hatchery and naturally produced spring Chinook salmon O. tshawytscha of known size that spawned in two tributaries of the Wenatchee River. We controlled for variability in spawning habitat by limiting our analysis to redds found within four selected reaches. No difference in the instantaneous spawner density or location of the redd in the stream channel was detected between reaches. Within each reach, no difference in the fork length or weight of hatchery and naturally produced fish was detected. While most variables differed between reaches, we found no difference in redd characteristics within a reach between hatchery and naturally produced females. Correlation analysis of fish size and redd characteristics found several weak but significant relationships suggesting larger fish contract larger redds in deeper water. Spawner density was inversely related to several redd structure variables suggesting redd size may decrease as spawner density increases. Results should be considered preliminary until samples size and statistical power goals are reached in future years. Trends in relative reproductive success of hatchery and naturally produced spring Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in the Wenatchee Basins suggest females that spawn in the upper reaches of the tributaries produced a great number of offspring compared to females that spawn in the lower reaches of the tributaries. To better understand this trend, redd microhabitat data was collected from spring Chinook salmon that spawned in the Chiwawa River and Nason Creek, the primary spawning tributaries in the Wenatchee Basin. The objective of the study was to examine the influence of habitat and spawner density on spawning site and redd structure characteristics. We analyzed 27 variables of redd microhabitat data collected from the upper and lower most reaches of each study stream. In both streams, we found redds in the upper most reaches to be significantly larger (length and width) and deeper (bowl depth). Spawner density was significantly greater in the lower Chiwawa River compared to the upper reach. No difference in spawner density was detected between reaches in Nason Creek (P = 0.54). Data should be considered preliminary until sample size goals are achieved.« less
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  1. Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
R&D Project: 2003-039-00; TRN: US200916%%259
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Portland, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States