ESR 20:227-234 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00500

Green turtle population structure in the Pacific: new insights from single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites

Suzanne E. Roden1,*, Phillip A. Morin1, Amy Frey1, George H. Balazs2, Patricia Zarate3, I-Jiunn Cheng4, Peter H. Dutton1

1Marine Mammal and Turtle Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
2Marine Turtle Research Program, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
3Marine Science Program, Charles Darwin Foundation, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
4Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University, 2 Pei-Ning Road, Keelung 20224, Taiwan, ROC

ABSTRACT: A set of nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellite markers was used to detect genetic stock structure among 5 Pacific green turtle Chelonia mydas nesting populations. We sampled populations in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (n = 57), Colola, Mexico (n = 75), French Frigate Shoals, Hawaii (n = 141), Yap, Micronesia (n = 73), and Wan-an, Taiwan (n = 57), to represent eastern, central, and western Pacific regions. A combination of 29 single independent SNPs and linked SNPs combined as haplotypes were used for a total of 20 independent markers. In addition, 8 polymorphic microsatellite markers were applied to the same sample set. Both sets of nuclear markers confirmed significant differentiation between all sampled populations in the 3 Pacific regions (p ≤ 0.001). The use of these SNPs and microsatellites resulted in sufficient power to detect small population differences not seen in previous studies using smaller numbers of nuclear markers. Our results suggest that male-mediated gene flow between regional nesting stocks is more limited than previously believed, allowing the potential to delineate stocks more clearly. Finally, we discuss the value of SNP markers as an alternative or complement to other nuclear markers such as microsatellites for the examination of stock structure.


KEY WORDS: Green turtle · Chelonia mydas · Single nucleotide polymorphism · SNP · Microsatellite · Sea turtle · Genetics · Conservation


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Cite this article as: Roden SE, Morin PA, Frey A, Balazs GH, Zarate P, Cheng IJ, Dutton PH (2013) Green turtle population structure in the Pacific: new insights from single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites. Endang Species Res 20:227-234. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00500

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