Sacramento perch population genetics and development of captive breeding

For more information contact Andrea Schreier:

Background and Significance of Study

The Sacramento perch (Archoplites interruptus) is a small centrarchid fish originally found in warm, slow moving waters throughout California’s Central Valley. Now extirpated from its native range, the Sacramento perch is found only in small, reintroduced populations in various freshwaters scattered throughout the state. Since the GVL’s original study on Sacramento perch genetics (Schwartz and May 2008), several new reintroduced populations have been discovered. We are genotyping several hundred Sacramento perch from previously unstudied waters and combining these data with those collected by Schwartz and May (2008). We will measure genetic diversity and examine population structure throughout the species range, providing a more comprehensive picture of reintroduction history and contemporary population structure.

This project will also generate data necessary to develop a genetic management plan for captive breeding of Sacramento perch by private aquaculture facilities in California. Private producers are interested in developing a native species with characteristics similar to the tilapia, an highly adaptable warm-water species that is illegal to produce in California due to its potential to invade native ecosystems. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is working with private producers to develop a scientifically managed captive breeding program for Sacramento perch that will not only provide fish for commercial sale but potentially also for reintroduction. Genetic diversity and population structure data will be used to identify sources for broodstock development and guide mating schemes to minimize the likelihood of inbreeding and outbreeding depression. GVL alum Jeff Rodzen, now a Fisheries Geneticist with CDFW, will incorporate our findings into a genetic management plan for captive breeding.


Rachel Schwartz, University of Rhode Island

California Department of Fish and Wildlife