Evol Ecol Res 17: 157-178 (2016)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Reintroduction of threespine stickleback
into Cheney and Scout Lakes, Alaska

Michael A. Bell1, David C. Heins2, Matthew A. Wund3, Frank A. von Hippel4,
Robert Massengill5, Kristine Dunker6, Glenn A. Bristow7† and Windsor E. Aguirre8

1Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA,  2Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA,   3Biology Department, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA,  4Department of Biological  Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA,  5Sport Fish Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Soldotna, AK, USA,  6Sport Fish Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage, AK, USA,  7Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway and  8Department of Biological Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

Correspondence: M.A. Bell, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11790-5245, USA. email: michael.bell@stonybrook.edu


Background: Marine or anadromous threespine stickleback have colonized many northern Holarctic lakes after glacial recession, and their freshwater descendants have diverged in characteristic ways. Such divergence begins within a few generations, but previous studies have sampled only one generation or initiated sampling several generations after the populations were founded. Rotenone treatment of two Cook Inlet lakes to exterminate invasive northern pike also eliminated native threespine stickleback, creating an opportunity to introduce anadromous stickleback and observe their adaptation to freshwater conditions for multiple generations, beginning immediately after we founded the populations.

Methods: In 2009 and 2011, we released about 3000 reproductively mature anadromous threespine stickleback into each lake. We sampled the source population and made annual samples from the two introduced populations. These samples have been preserved for future analysis. We estimated annual variation in relative abundance, made preliminary morphological observations, and assessed parasite diversity.

Results: Anadromous stickleback released into the lakes produced abundant progeny, many of which survived and became reproductively mature the following spring. Both populations experienced demographic bottlenecks in 2013 and 2014 and began to recover in 2015. Preliminary observations indicate that stickleback in both lakes resemble anadromous stickleback, but by 2015 about 20% of the specimens in one population had a highly heritable, freshwater phenotype. One lake population had roughly twice as many parasite species and a much higher prevalence of a large metazoan parasite than either the anadromous ancestor or the other lake population. Our preliminary observations indicate that substantial evolution occurred during the first few generations, our existing samples can be used to study contemporary evolution, and sampling should be continued.

Keywords: adaptive radiation, Cheney Lake, colonizing species, contemporary evolution, experimental evolution, Gasterosteus aculeatus, parasite, Schistocephalus solidus, Scout Lake, threespine stickleback.

IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.


        © 2016 Michael A. Bell. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

       Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.

       All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.