Genomic Perspectives for Conservation and Management of Atlantic Cod in Coastal Labrador
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This thesis examines genomic differentiation between the Gilbert Bay and offshore Atlantic Cod populations in Newfoundland and Labrador. First, I determine whether the Gilbert Bay cod population qualifies as a conservation unit. I found evidence of strong genetic divergence between the Gilbert Bay and offshore samples in both neutral and adaptive regions of the genome. These findings suggest that the Gilbert Bay population contributes to the intraspecific diversity of Atlantic Cod and that it warrants consideration as a conservation unit. Second, I develop genomic tools for management and conservation of the Gilbert Bay population. A panel of 23 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was developed for identifying Gilbert Bay cod in mixed-stock fisheries. In addition, I estimated the effective population size of the Gilbert Bay population using thousands of genome-wide SNPs. This research demonstrates the power of genomic-based approaches for management and conservation of an exploited marine species.