Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Dakota Project

Growth Potential and Genetic Diversity of Yellow Perch in South Dakota

July 2014 - November 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Game, Fish & Parks

Yellow Perch Perca flavescens represent a valued sport fish throughout their range and are an important prey species for piscivorous fishes. In South Dakota, two distinct population types of Yellow Perch have been characterized that differ in growth, survival, and recruitment patterns. Fast growth populations exhibit high growth rates, high mortality, low population density, and inconsistent recruitment. In contrast, slow growth populations are characterized by reduced growth rates, low mortality, high population density, and relatively consistent recruitment. The role of genetics in contributing to these population characteristics is currently unknown. To address these questions, we worked with South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, & Parks and the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point to use high-throughput restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing to scan the Yellow Perch genome for genetic markers associated with population type. A combination of laboratory and field common garden experiments was used to compare relative growth and survival of age-0 Yellow Perch from the two population types. Eighteen markers that significantly differed between population types were identified through RAD sequencing; however, low allele frequency differences indicated weak support for correlation to the growth differences between populations. The laboratory and common garden experiments showed no significant differences in specific growth rates between fast and slow growth Yellow Perch populations. The results of this study indicate that Yellow Perch growth is influenced more by environmental conditions within individual lakes than heritable genetic differences between population types.