Research Activities                              Go Back!

Laboratory:
School of Biology and Biochemistry, The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
Contact person (name and e-mail):
Andy Ferguson; a.ferguson@qub.ac.uk
Persons working on brown trout population genetics:
Alistair Duguid, Andy Ferguson, Rosaleen Hynes, Paulo Prodöhl, (Oonagh McMeel, Caroline Thompson - ms preparation only).
General research topics of the laboratory:
Genetic population structure, phylogeography, conservation and management, reproduction biology.
General description of research on brown trout population genetics:
Research on brown trout population genetics has been undertaken since 1976 as part of wider research programmes on salmonid fish genetics, and molecular ecology and systematics which have been ongoing since 1996. The studies have been concerned with population structure, phylogeography, conservation, management and life history strategies. Some work has also been carried out on hybridisation between brown trout and Atlantic salmon. Early studies were allozyme based, but in recent years this has been extended to include mitochondrial DNA, minisatellite, microsatellite and specific coding genes including lactate dehydrogenase and transferrin.

back to the top


List of projects (brown trout) for the past 3 years:

 

Study #1
Researcher: O. McMeel, A. Ferguson.
Collaborators: L. Hoey (Queen's University Belfast)
Source of project funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Topic: Phylogeography, conservation and management, growth potential, reproduction biology.
Objective: To obtain cDNA nucleotide sequences of the LDH-C1* 100 and *90 alleles for brown trout and, based on the sequence difference, to develop a method for genotyping LDH-C1* after PCR amplification of genomic DNA from tissue biopsies and archive material. This will facilitate further investigations of the relationship between the LDH-C1* 100 allele and longevity (ferox trout) using biopsy and scale samples. LDH sequence will also be valuable in further studies of brown trout phylogeography.
Design: Produce cDNA by reverse transcriptase PCR of RNA isolated from retinal tissue and sequence. Based on sequence difference rapid methods for screening alleles from DNA will be developed.
Methodology: nDNA sequencing (LDH-C).
Trout population: Hatchery stocks and resident populations.
Origin of samples: UK, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Hopefully completed summer 1998.

back to the top


Study #2
Researcher: A. Duguid, P.Prodöhl, A. Ferguson
Collaborators: C. Adams; C. Bull
Source of project funding: Dept of Education for NI until September 1998; Fisheries Society of the British Isles Studentship 1998 - 2001.
Topic: Genetic population structure, phylogeography.
Objective: To determine the extent of population structuring within and among brown trout in large freshwater lakes in Scotland. To determine the phylogeographic origins of this diversity. To identify populations important for conservation for fisheries management and protection of biodiversity.
Design: Population sampling of major lake systems especially those where morphological information suggests that sympatric populations may exist. Population and phylogeographic genetic analysis.
Methodology: Allozymes, nDNA sequencing (Tf, LDH-C, mtDNA sequencing, mtDNA RFLP, microsatellites.
Trout population: Resident population.
Origin of samples: Scotland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Started October 1997 - due for completion (PhD thesis) September 2001.

back to the top


Study #3
Researcher: R. Hynes, P. Prodöhl, A. Ferguson
Source of project funding: University Internal funds.
Topic: Phylogeography.
Objective: To determine the temporal and spatial postglacial colonisation patterns for brown trout in Britain and Ireland including the sympatric versus allopatric origins of the sympatric populations of Lough Melvin.
Design: Sampling of unstocked freshwater and anadromous populations. Phylogeographic analyses.
Methodology: MtDNA sequencing (ND genes), nDNA sequencing (Tf, LDH-C).
Trout population: Resident and anadromous populations.
Origin of samples: UK, Ireland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Ongoing.

back to the top


Study #4
Researcher: C. Thompson, A.Ferguson
Collaborators: A. Youngson, J. Taggart
Source of project funding: Department of Education for NI; Scottish Office Marine Laboratory funds.
Topic: Genetic population structure.
Objective: To examine the genetic structure in river populations of brown trout in Scotland and Ireland and to estimate gene flow among populations. To investigate the relationship between anadromous and nonanadromous individuals from the same river system. To carry out a detailed investigation of inter-tributary genetic variation in the Rivers Dee and Don (Aberdeenshire).
Design: Sampling of some 1500 brown trout from 35 sites, some 75% of which had open access to the sea, the remainder being from closed sites above impassable barriers.
Methodology: Allozymes, mtDNA RFLP, minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident and anadromous populations.
Origin of samples: Scotland, Ireland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Completed (PhD thesis) 1995, publications in preparation.

back to the top


Study #5
Researcher: O. McMeel, P. Prodöhl, A. Ferguson
Collaborators: Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, Iceland
Source of project funding: Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Topic: Genetic population structure, stocking effects and introgression, phylogeography.
Objective: To examine the population genetic structure of brown trout in Iceland based on eight populations from North, West and South West drainages. To examine the impact of stocking of nonnative trout. To contribute to understanding of trout postglacial colonisation of Iceland.
Design: Population genetic survey of pristine and stocked populations. Population genetic and phylogeographic analyses.
Methodology: Minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident populations.
Origin of samples: Iceland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Analysis completed, PhD thesis 1996, manuscript at advanced stage of preparation.

back to the top


Study #6
Researcher: O. McMeel, R. Hynes, A. Ferguson
Collaborators: A. Osinov, R.Ade, I.Togan
Source of project funding: Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Topic: Genetic population structure, phylogeography.
Objective: To examine genetic differentiation and phylogeographical relationships in samples of brown trout from the Black, Caspian and Aral sea basins and to integrate this with data already obtained from NW Europe.
Design: Population genetic and phylogeographic analyses.
Methodology: nDNA sequencing (Tf), minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident and anadromous populations.
Origin of samples: Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Black Sea Basin, Caspian Sea Basin, Lake Aral.
Status: Analyses completed, PhD thesis 1996, manuscript in preparation.

back to the top

Study #7
Researcher: O. McMeel, A.Ferguson
Collaborators: R. Greer, A.Thorne
Source of project funding: Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Topic: Reproduction biology, phylogeography, conservation and management, growth potential.
Objective: To examine the possible relationship between the LDH-C1* 100 allele, life history strategy, longevity (ferox trout) in Britain and Ireland. To determine if ferox represent the remnants of a distinct postglacial colonist.
Design: Samples of long-lived ferox trout (6+ years) were obtained from various lakes in Britain and Ireland and their LDH-C1* distribution genotype compared against expected genotype distribution of random trout from these lakes.
Methodology: Allozymes, minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident populations.
Origin of samples: Scotland, Ireland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Snitial study completed, PhD thesis 1996, manuscript in preparation; new studies as part of #2 and following on from #1.

back to the top

Study #8
Researcher: P. Prodöhl, R. Hynes, A. Ferguson
Source of project funding: Internal funds.
Topic: Genetic population structure.
Objective: To examine further the genetic relationships of the sympatric ferox, gillaroo, and sonaghen populations of Lough Melvin and to compare the relative efficiency of allozymes, mitochondrial DNA, minisatellites and microsatellites in determining these relationships.
Design: Population genetic investigation using a range of molecular markers.
Methodology: Allozymes, mtDNA sequencing (ND genes), mtDNA RFLP, minisatellie single locus probes, microsatellites.
Trout population: Resident populations.
Origin of samples: Ireland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Ongoing.

back to the top

Study #9
Researcher: C. Thompson, O. McMeel, A.Ferguson
Collaborators: K. Hindar, M. Matthews, R. Poole, A. Youngson, J.Webb
Source of project funding: EU AIR3 CT94 2484.
Topic: Natural hybridisation, reproduction biology.
Objective: To study hybridisation between brown trout and Atlantic salmon in Britain and Ireland. To quantify hybridisation in pristine rivers and in rivers with escaped farm salmon. To determine maternal parentage and orgin (wild / farmed) of hybrids. To determine the occurrence of post-F1 hybrids in rivers known to have high levels of F1 hybrids.
Design: Genetic screening with species specific markers of systematically sampled juvenile salmonids.
Methodology: Allozymes, mtDNA RFLP, scnDNA RFLP, minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident and anadromous populations.
Origin of samples: UK, Ireland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Completed 1997.

back to the top

Study #10
Researcher: C. Thompson, A. Ferguson
Collaborators: M. Matthews, R. Poole, A. Youngson, J. Webb
Source of project funding: EU AIR3 CT94 2484.
Topic: Reproduction biology.
Objective: To determine the incidence of secondary male contribution in the fertilisation of anadromous and nonandromous brown trout ova in natural redds in the Burrishoole system (western Ireland) and the river Don (Aberdeenshire, Scotland).
Design: Redds were excavated and samples of eyed eggs obtained. Screening at three minisatellite loci was used to reconstruct the genotypes of the female and primary male parents, and to estimate the success of secondary males.
Methodology: MtDNA RFLP, minisatellite single locus probes.
Trout population: Resident and anadromous populations.
Origin of samples: Ireland, Scotland, Atlantic Basin.
Status: Analyses completed, revised manuscript due for resubmission June 1998.

back to the top


Publications (brown trout genetics)

Journal papers:

  • Cawdery, S.A.H. & Ferguson, A. (1988) Origins and differentiation of three sympatric species of trout (Salmo trutta L.) in Lough Melvin. Pol. Arch. Hydrobiol. 35, 267-277.
  • Crozier, W.W. & Ferguson, A. (1986). Electrophoretic examination of the population structure of brown trout, Salmo trutta L., from the Lough Neagh catchment, Northern Ireland. J. Fish Biol. 28, 459-477.
  • Crozier, W.W. & Ferguson, A. (1993). Investigations on the brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). In Lough Neagh (Wood, R.B. & Smith, R.V., eds.), pp. 419-437. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
  • Ferguson, A. & Mason, F.M. (1981) Allozyme evidence for reproductively isolated sympatric populations of brown trout Salmo trutta L. in Lough Melvin, Ireland. J. Fish Biol. 18, 629-642.
  • Ferguson, A. & Fleming, C.C. (1983). Evolutionary and taxonomic significance of protein variation in the brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). In Protein Polymorphism: Adaptive and Taxonomic Significance (Oxford, G.S. & Rollinson, D., eds), pp. 85-99. Systematics Association Special Volume No. 24. London: Academic Press.
  • Ferguson, A. (1986). Lough Melvin - A unique fish community. Royal Dublin Society Occasional papers in Irish Science and Technology 1, 1-17.
  • Ferguson, A. (1989). Genetic differences among brown trout, Salmo trutta, stocks and their importance for the conservation and management of the species. Freshw. Biol. 21, 35-46.
  • Ferguson, A. & Taggart, J.B. (1991). Genetic differentiation among sympatric brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations of Lough Melvin, Ireland. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 43, 221-237.
  • Ferguson, A., Hynes, R.A., Prodöhl, P.A. & Taggart, J.B. (1995). Molecular approaches to the study of genetic variation in salmonid fishes. Nord. J. Freshw. Res. 71, 23-32.
  • Ferguson, A., Taggart, J.B., Prodöhl, P.A., McMeel, O., Thompson, C., Stone, C., McGinnity, P. & Hynes, R.A. (1995). The application of molecular markers to the study and conservation of fish populations with special reference to Salmo. J. Fish Biol. 47A, 103-126.
  • Hamilton, K.E., Ferguson, A., Taggart, J.B., Tómasson, T., Walker, A. & Fahy, E. (1989). Post-glacial colonization of brown trout, Salmo trutta L.: Ldh-5 as a phylogeographic marker locus. J. Fish Biol. 35, 651-664.
  • Henry, T. & Ferguson, A. (1985) Kinetic studies on the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-5) isozymes of brown trout, Salmo trutta L. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 82B, 95-98.
  • Henry, T. & Ferguson, A. (1986) Kinetic studies on the lactate dehydrogenase isozymes of brown trout, Salmo trutta L. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 85B, 491-496.
  • Henry, T. & Ferguson, A. (1987) Phosphoglucose isomerase isozymes and allozymes of the brown trout, Salmo trutta L. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 88B, 751-756.
  • Hynes, R.A., Ferguson, A. & McCann, M.A. (1996) Variation in mitochondrial DNA and post-glacial colonisation of north-west Europe by brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). J. Fish Biol. 48, 54 - 67.
  • McVeigh, H. & Ferguson, A. (1988). The applications of mitochondrial DNA analysis in the study of the population biology of the brown trout Salmo trutta L. Pol. Arch. Hydrobiol. 35, 287-294.
  • McVeigh, H., Hynes, R. & Ferguson, A. (1995) Mitochondrial DNA differentiation of sympatric populations of brown trout, Salmo trutta L., from Lough Melvin, Ireland. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 52, 1617 - 1622.
  • Prodöhl, P.A., Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1992). Genetic variability within and among sympatric brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations: multi-locus DNA fingerprint analysis. Hereditas 117, 45-50.
  • Prodöhl, P.A., Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1994). Cloning of highly variable minisatellite DNA single locus probes for brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) from a phagemid library. In Genetics and Evolution of Aquatic Organisms (Beaumont, A.R., ed.), pp.263-270. London: Chapman & Hall.
  • Prodöhl, P.A., Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1994). Single locus inheritance and joint segregation analysis of minisatellite (VNTR) DNA loci in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). Heredity 73, 556-566.
  • Prodöhl, P.A., Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1995) A panel of minisatellite (VNTR) DNA locus specific probes for potential application to problems in salmonid aquaculture. Aquaculture 137, 87-97.
  • Prodöhl, P.A., Walker, A.F., Hynes, R., Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1997). Genetically monomorphic brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations, as revealed by mitochondrial DNA, multilocus and single locus minisatellite (VNTR) analyses. Heredity 78, 208-213.
  • Taggart, J.B., Ferguson, A. & Mason, F.M. (1981). Genetic variation in Irish populations of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.): electrophoretic analysis of allozymes. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 69B, 393-412.
  • Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1984). Allozyme variation in the brown trout (Salmo trutta L.): single locus and joint segregation inheritance studies. Heredity 53, 339-359.
  • Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1984). An electrophoretically-detectable genetic tag for hatchery reared brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). Aquaculture 41, 119-130.
  • Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1986). Electrophoretic evaluation of a supplemental stocking programme for brown trout, Salmo trutta L. Aquacult. Fish. Manage. 17, 155-162.
  • Taggart, J.B. & Ferguson, A. (1990). Minisatellite DNA fingerprints of salmonid fishes. Anim. Genet. 21, 377-389.

Theses (eg, PhD and MSc theses):

  • Taggart, J.B. (1981) An electrophoretic study of genetic variation in Irish brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Crozier, W.W. (1983) Population biology of Lough Neagh brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Fleming, C.C. (1983) Population biology of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) in Britain and Ireland. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Henry, T. (1984) Lactate dehydrogenase and phosoglucose isomerase isozymes and allozymes of the brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Hamilton, K.E. (1987). Structural and regulatory gene variation in salmonid fishes. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Cawdery, S.A.H. (1988) Morphological and biochemical population differentiation in salmonid fishes. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • McVeigh, H.P. (1989) Mitochondrial DNA and salmonid population structure. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Prodöhl, P.A. (1993) Multilocus and single locus minisatellite DNA polymorphism in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • Thompson, C.E.M. (1995) Population genetics of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) in Scotland and Ireland. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.
  • McMeel, O.M. (1996) Molecular phylogenetics of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations. PhD thesis. The Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland.

back to the top


Top of the page