Assessment of Multiple Stocking Strategies of Striped Bass in the Ashley River, South Carolina Using Multiplexed Microsatellite Panels
Baltzegar, Jennifer Fountain
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Striped bass is an important sport and aquaculture species that is commonly stocked throughout the United States. Here we have developed three multiplexed panels that collectively incorporate twelve different established microsatellite loci. All loci were tested for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, linkage disequilibrium, Mendelian inheritance, and null alleles in two populations. Loci were comparably polymorphic in two river systems with similar allele size ranges observed. These multiplexed microsatellite panels were then used to assess the efficacy of multiple stocking strategies of striped bass in the Ashley River, South Carolina. Distinct genetic families (offspring from one female x three males) were used in order to distinguish separate treatment groups. Two size classes of striped bass were stocked to determine the best size and/or season for contributing to the population. Phase I (45 mm) fish were stocked in the spring, while phase II (150 mm) fish were stocked in the fall after water temperatures cooled. Separate genetic families of phase II fish were initially reared in freshwater and brackish water to determine if initial rearing salinity affects post-stocking survival. Few phase I fish were recaptured indicating that the treatment group did not survive the initial summer. Phase II fish from both rearing salinities were recaptured throughout a 2.5 year sampling period, suggesting that the Ashley River has sufficient habitat and resources to support a population of striped bass; however, more fish from the brackish water-rearing facility were recaptured during the first year after stocking. This may indicate that there is habitat partitioning by rearing salinity occurring during the first year at large. Additional stocking and expanded monitoring of the population should be conducted to better elucidate these findings.