High potential for using DNA from ancient herring bones to inform modern fisheries management and conservation

Camilla F Speller, Lorenz Hauser, Dana Lepofsky, Jason Moore, Antonia T Rodrigues, Madonna L Moss, Iain McKechnie, Dongya Y Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are an abundant and important component of the coastal ecosystems for the west coast of North America. Current Canadian federal herring management assumes five regional herring populations in British Columbia with a high degree of exchange between units, and few distinct local populations within them. Indigenous traditional knowledge and historic sources, however, suggest that locally adapted, distinct regional herring populations may have been more prevalent in the past. Within the last century, the combined effects of commercial fishing and other anthropogenic factors have resulted in severe declines of herring populations, with contemporary populations potentially reflecting only the remnants of a previously more abundant and genetically diverse metapopulation. Through the analysis of 85 archaeological herring bones, this study attempted to reconstruct the genetic diversity and population structure of ancient herring populations using three different marker systems (mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), microsatellites and SNPs). A high success rate (91%) of DNA recovery was obtained from the extremely small herring bone samples (often
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51122
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2012

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