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Understanding age-specific dispersal in fishes through hydrodynamic modelling, genetic simulations and microsatellite DNA analysis


Berry, O and England, P and Marriott, RJ and Burridge, CP and Newman, SJ, Understanding age-specific dispersal in fishes through hydrodynamic modelling, genetic simulations and microsatellite DNA analysis, Molecular Ecology, 21, (9) pp. 2145-2159. ISSN 0962-1083 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05520.x


Many marine species have vastly different capacities for dispersal during larval, juvenile and adult life stages, and this has the potential to complicate the identification of population boundaries and the implementation of effective management strategies such as marine protected areas. Genetic studies of population structure and dispersal rarely disentangle these differences and usually provide only lifetime-averaged information that can be considered by managers. We address this limitation by combining age- specific autocorrelation analysis of microsatellite genotypes, hydrodynamic modelling and genetic simulations to reveal changes in the extent of dispersal during the lifetime of a marine fish. We focus on an exploited coral reef species, Lethrinus nebulosus, which has a circum-tropical distribution and is a key component of a multispecies fishery in northwestern Australia. Conventional population genetic analyses revealed extensive gene flow in this species over vast distances (up to 1500 km). Yet, when realistic adult dispersal behaviours were modelled, they could not account for these observations, implying adult dispersal does not dominate gene flow. Instead, hydrodynamic modelling showed that larval L. nebulosus are likely to be transported hundreds of kilometres, easily accounting for the observed gene flow. Despite the vast scale of larval transport, juvenile L. nebulosus exhibited fine-scale genetic autocorrelation, which declined with age. This implies both larval cohesion and extremely limited juvenile dispersal prior to maturity. The multidisciplinary approach adopted in this study provides a uniquely comprehensive insight into spatial processes in this marine fish.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:dispersal, fish, hydrodynamic model, microsatellite
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Biochemistry and cell biology
Research Field:Structural biology (incl. macromolecular modelling)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
ID Code:77765
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-05-25
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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