Effective population size of winter-run chinook salmon based on microsatellite analysis of returning spawners

P. W. Hedrick, V. K. Rashbrook, D. Hedgecock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We previously estimated the predicted effective population size for the endangered winter-run chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, based on a number of assumptions, including random survival and return of released fish. Here we present data from actual returning spawners, identified to family by microsatellite loci, and calculate the observed effective population size. In 1994 and 1995, the observed effective population sizes were 93.6 and 78.2% of predicted values, respectively, suggesting that the numbers of returning fish were very close to random expectations in 1994 and less close to random in 1995. The ratio of the effective population size to the adult number, Ne/N, was greater than unity for 1994 and approximately 0.5 in 1995. The high ratio in 1994 reflects the success of the breeding protocol to equalize individual contributions and near random returns, while the lower number in 1995 appears to be the result of both less successful equalization and less close to random returns in that year. These findings provide an optimistic outlook for the success of this supplementation program and suggest that the overall effective population size has not been greatly reduced, since returning spawners represent a broad sample of parents and not fish from only a few families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2368-2373
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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