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Population Genetics of Lamprey in California

Continuing the genetic investigation of understudied lamprey in California

Population Genetics of Lamprey in California

Baby lamprey being measured

Project Summary

Lampreys, a group of jawless, eel-like fishes, are extant representatives of the first known vertebrates. Survival to modern times depended on lampreys’ parasitic strategy; however, multiple non-parasitic species have evolved. One current complication to lamprey population genetic research is the difficulty in determining an accurate species identification based on morphological features at the larval and juvenile life stages. At least six species of lamprey (Entosphenus spp. and Lampetra spp.) occur in California watersheds, and multiple species’ ranges overlap. All are listed as California Species of Special Concern; yet, little is known about the interspecific and intraspecific genetic structure of lamprey populations throughout the state.

In our pilot study, we applied restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) to lamprey samples (N=480) collected opportunistically through several ongoing salmon surveys. Our dataset captures individuals from various species, life stages, and geographic locations. This study (in progress) aims to capture a snapshot of the genetic composition and relationships of California’s central valley lamprey at both the species and population level. Future work includes the development of SNP markers to distinguish between all lamprey species in California. This will improve our ability to assess population structure and estimate genetic differentiation among parasitic and non-parasitic lampreys.

Project Team

Grace M. Auringer, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA, USA

Pascale Goertler, Delta Stewardship Council - Delta Science Program, 980 Ninth Street, Suite 1500, Sacramento, CA, USA

Amanda J. Finger, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA, USA

Sample collection for this project is made possible by the following collaborators:

CDFW: Fresno - Ken Johnson

CDFW: North Central Region (Region 2) - Jason Julienne

CDFW - Dave Contreras

CDFW - Michael Dege

DWR - Chris Cook

DWR - Elizabeth Wells

EBMUD - Ed Rible

FISHBIO - Jason Guignard

Napa County RCD - Jonathan Koehler

Normandeau Associates - Tim Salamunovich

PSMFC Rotary Screw Trap - Kassie Hickey

SFPUC: Natural Resources and Lands Management Division - Brian Sak

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