Sam Fenton

Room 411, Graham Kerr Building

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine

College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences

University of Glasgow

Glasgow

G12 8QQ

Email: s.fenton.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Research title: The population genetics of Arctic Charr in Scotland

Research Summary

My PhD focuses around the adaptive diversity of the salmonid species Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). 

Across its Holarctic range, Arctic charr displaying stunning diversity both phenotypically (e.g. variaiton in  morphology, meristic characters, colouration, spawning time) and genetically. In the British Isles, the vast majority of populations are found in Scotland however many of these populations have yet to be studied scientifically and so the true extent of diversit within and across catchments remains unclear. 

The high diversity seen in the species gives it, and the environments that gave rise to it, a high conservation value. However, this is not currently reflected in the suite of populations currently protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, with only five populations receiving any kind of special protection. To conserve a highly diverse species like Arctic charr, we need a better understanding of this variability on a national scale. 

Aims of my PhD:

  • To conduct a national scale genetic study of populations seen across Scotland
  • Patterns of neutral and adaptive variation with be investigated in order to identify populations or groups of populations that could be defined as intraspecific Evolutionary Significant Units for the purpose of conservation
  • Colonisaiton history of these populations will also be investigated along with populations in Ireland, Wales, and England to determine how colonisaiton history differs across the British Isles and how these compare to patterns seen across the Holarctic