Adam Polewacz, Tomasz Liszewski, Marcin Kuciński, Dorota Fopp-Bayat,
Anna Wiśniewska, Maciej Rożyński, Grażyna Furgała-Selezniow, Małgorzata Jankun
ABSTRACT. Species of the genus Coregonus are ecologically and economically valuable as representatives of fish from the family Salmonidae. The marked morphological plasticity of the coregonids, which inhabit varied ecological niches throughout a relatively wide distribution area, means that the numerous ecological forms of fish from the genus Coregonus observed are considered to be “engaged in the process of speciation”. This means that determining precisely the systematic position of whitefish inhabiting European waters is exceedingly difficult since one cannot speak of the various whitefish forms that occur as full-fledged species because characteristic species traits such as reproductive isolation, absolute feeding specialization, or significant morphological or genetic differences cannot be identified. Excessive, irresponsible fisheries management along with peled stocking and interbreeding between whitefish and peled have led to the disappearance of most endemic whitefish forms, while the knowledge garnered to date about this species has ceased to keep pace with reality. In light of this, it is doubtless essential to determine whether the different morphological whitefish forms observed in Europe represent separate species, sub-species, or ecological forms. Currently, the only method available that can possibly lead to the correct systematic classification of the various ecological forms of this species is detailed genetic variation and mitochondrial DNA analyses. Determining the genetic structure of different whitefish populations inhabiting Poland is the only chance there is to restore effectively this species and to safeguard biodiversity. This is also why the traditionally accepted nomenclature pertaining to fish of the genus Coregonus, in Poland and throughout Europe alike, should be revised thoroughly based on both morphological and molecular data.
Keywords: Coregonus lavaretus, systematics, ecological forms, genetic clades
Przyjęto po recenzji 24.08.2015 r.