State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008MT180B
Title: Student Fellowship: The Consequences of Introgressive Hybridization: Implications for Westslope Cutthroat Trout Conservation
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 12/31/2008
Congressional District: At-large
Focus Categories: Invasive Species
Keywords: invasive species, Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi, Oncorhynchus mykiss, hybridization, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout
Principal Investigator: Corsi, Matt
Federal Funds: $ 3,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: The introduction and spread of invasive species is recognized as one of the major threats to the continued function of many ecosystems (1, 2). Understanding how invasive species colonize novel environments is a difficult biological problem. However, understanding the circumstances in which invasion leads to hybridization between exotic and native taxa is even more problematic (3). The rate of hybridization is increasing as a result of several anthropogenic factors including ecological degradation and homogenization (4). However, interpreting the evolutionary and ecological significance of hybridization remains a challenge (5). In most cases, it is not clear what (if any) short or long-term fitness effects may result from hybridization with exotic species and the effects of hybridization are likely dependent on ecological context (6). This fact coupled with some disagreement about how to even define hybridization (3, 7) has led to confusion and controversy about how hybrid populations should be managed and what role hybrids might play in conservation plans (3, 8, 9).

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