eCite Digital Repository

DNA capture reveals transoceanic gene flow in endangered river sharks


Li, G and Corrigan, S and Yang, L and Straube, N and Harris, M and Hofreiter, M and White, WT and Naylor, GJP, DNA capture reveals transoceanic gene flow in endangered river sharks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, (43) pp. 13302-13307. ISSN 0027-8424 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 PNAS

DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1508735112


For over a hundred years, the "river sharks" of the genus Glyphis were only known from the type specimens of species that had been collected in the 19th century. They were widely considered extinct until populations of Glyphis-like sharks were rediscovered in remote regions of Borneo and Northern Australia at the end of the 20th century. However, the genetic affinities between the newly discovered Glyphis-like populations and the poorly preserved, original museum-type specimens have never been established. Here, we present the first (to our knowledge) fully resolved, complete phylogeny of Glyphis that includes both archival-type specimens and modern material. We used a sensitive DNA hybridization capture method to obtain complete mitochondrial genomes from all of our samples and show that three of the five described river shark species are probably conspecific and widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Furthermore we show that there has been recent gene flow between locations that are separated by large oceanic expanses. Our data strongly suggest marine dispersal in these species, overturning the widely held notion that river sharks are restricted to freshwater. It seems that species in the genus Glyphis are euryhaline with an ecology similar to the bull shark, in which adult individuals live in the ocean while the young grow up in river habitats with reduced predation pressure. Finally, we discovered a previously unidentified species within the genus Glyphis that is deeply divergent from all other lineages, underscoring the current lack of knowledge about the biodiversity and ecology of these mysterious sharks.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:freshwater sharks, DNA, gene flow, museum specimens, Glyphis
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Animal systematics and taxonomy
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity
UTAS Author:White, WT (Dr William White)
ID Code:118468
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2017-07-12
Last Modified:2017-08-18
Downloads:154 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page