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A genetic assessment of population connectivity in mutton snapper, Lutjanus analis

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kathryn Shulzitski (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Michael McCartney

Abstract: Elucidating patterns of marine population connectivity is a central concern among biologists. Genetic markers are commonly utilized to quantify patterns of connectivity since they can reveal information about the exchange of genes, and thus migration events. The development of microsatellites as polymorphic, high resolution markers has significantly contributed to our understanding of population genetic structure in marine organisms. In this study, microsatellite loci were isolated from an enriched genomic library for the mutton snapper, Lutjanus analis, a commercially and recreationally valuable fish. This species is of particular interest to both conservationists and fishery managers, as the last known mutton snapper spawning aggregation in United States’ waters was recently targeted for the establishment of the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserve (DTER). In order to evaluate the potential utility of the reserve as a source population for fisheries of the southeastern United States, mutton snapper from five locations around the Caribbean were genotyped at eight loci to estimate interpopulation gene flow. Analyses ranging from population-based F-statistics to individual-based assignment indicated that population genetic substructure was largely absent from the five sample locations. The only evidence for structure identified the population from the west coast of Puerto Rico as most distinct, suggesting that future work on populations in the eastern Caribbean is warranted. The genetic similarity of mutton snapper populations implies free gene flow between populations; however, because the genetic composition of each sample was so similar, it is impossible to discern between the relative contributions of potential source populations. Thus we cannot rule out the possibility that the DTER serves as a significant source of recruits to the southeastern United States. Yet based on the results of this study we cannot confirm that is doe Further research will be required to properly evaluate the utility of the DTER and to clarify corridors of connectivity across both the eastern and western portions of the Caribbean.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Mutton snapper--Caribbean, Mutton snapper--Molecular genetics, Mutton snapper--Puerto Rico, Population biology
Mutton snapper -- Caribbean
Mutton snapper -- Puerto Rico
Population biology
Mutton snapper -- Molecular genetics