Genomic signatures and correlates of widespread population declines in salmon
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonNature Communications. 2019, 10 . 10.1038/s41467-019-10972-w
Global losses of biodiversity are occurring at an unprecedented rate, but causes are often unidentified. Genomic data provide an opportunity to isolate drivers of change and even predict future vulnerabilities. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations have declined range-wide, but factors responsible are poorly understood. Here, we reconstruct changes in effective population size (Ne) in recent decades for 172 range-wide populations using a linkage-based method. Across the North Atlantic, Ne has significantly declined in >60% of populations and declines are consistently temperature-associated. We identify significant polygenic associations with decline, involving genomic regions related to metabolic, developmental, and physiological processes. These regions exhibit changes in presumably adaptive diversity in declining populations consistent with contemporary shifts in body size and phenology. Genomic signatures of widespread population decline and associated risk scores allow direct and potentially predictive links between population fitness and genotype, highlighting the power of genomic resources to assess population vulnerability.