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Going the Distance to Test Local Adaptation in Coho Salmon

Dec 15, 2022


The mechanisms underlying local adaptation, where populations evolve traits that confer advantages to the local environment, is a central topic for understanding evolution in natural systems. Conservation goals for species at risk often include defining population boundaries by identifying gene diversity, genetic differentiation, and adaptation to local environments. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Rougemont et al. (2022) combine genome‐wide SNP data with an extensive set of landscape variables to study the genomic mechanisms of local adaptation in the entire North American range of Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), representing one of the largest studies of its kind. Migration distance, defined as the distance adult Coho Salmon migrate from the ocean to their freshwater spawning ground, was found to be the primary factor driving local adaptation in this species. With climatic changes altering flow regimes and therefore the success of Coho Salmon to return to spawning grounds, understanding environmental drivers and the genomic basis for migration is essential in the conservation of anadromous salmonids.



Horn, R.L., and S.R. Narum. 2023. Going the distance to test local adaptation in Coho Salmon. Molecular Ecology 32(3):539-541. Online at



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Journal Article