Evidence of genetic subdivision among populations of blacklip abalone (
Haliotis rubra Leach) in Tasmania
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Temby, N and Miller, KJ and Mundy, CN, Evidence of genetic subdivision among populations of blacklip abalone (
Haliotis rubra Leach) in Tasmania, Marine and Freshwater Research, 58, (8) pp. 733-742. ISSN 1323-1650 (2007) [Refereed Article]
The scale over which populations exchange individuals (migration) is central to ecology, and important for understanding recruitment and connectivity in commercial species. Field studies indicate that blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra) have localised larval dispersal. However, genetic studies show differentiation only at large scales, suggesting dispersal over more than 100 km. Most genetic studies, however, have failed to test for subdivision at scales equivalent to field experiments. We used microsatellite DNA to investigate genetic structure at small scales (100 m to 10 km) in blacklip abalone in south-east Tasmania. We found significant subdivision (F ST = 0.021; P < 0.05) among sites, and hierarchical F ST analysis indicated 64% of genetic variation was at the smallest scale, supporting field studies that concluded larval dispersal is less than 100 m. We also tested if genetic differentiation varied predictably with wave exposure, but found no evidence that differences between adjacent sites in exposed locations varied from differences between adjacent sites in sheltered populations (mean F ST = 0.016 and 0.017 respectively). Our results show the usefulness of microsatellites for abalone, but also identify sampling scales as critical in understanding gene flow and dispersal of abalone larvae in an ecologically relevant framework. Importantly, our results indicate that H. rubra populations are self-recruiting, which will be important for the management of this commercial species. © CSIRO 2007.
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