ESR 30:83-93 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00724

Fine-scale genetic population structure of loggerhead turtles in the Northwest Pacific

Y. Matsuzawa1,2, N. Kamezaki2,3, T. Ishihara1,2, K. Omuta4, H. Takeshita5, K. Goto6, T. Arata7, H. Honda8, K. Kameda9, Y. Kashima10, M. Kayo1, I. Kawazu11, J. Kodama5, Y. Kumazawa12, K. Kuroyanagi13, K. Mizobuchi14, K. Mizuno15, K. Oki15, K. K. Watanabe16, A. Yamamoto17, Y. Yamashita18, T. Yamato1, T. Hamabata19, A. Ishizaki20, P. H. Dutton21,*

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ABSTRACT: Effective conservation of globally distributed marine species relies on identification of demographically independent populations to ensure that management actions are directed at the appropriate scale. This identification is particularly challenging for species with complex life histories when local breeding populations have not been adequately sampled. We used mtDNA to analyze the population structure of loggerhead turtles from a total of 555 samples collected from 12 nesting sites in Japan in the Northwest Pacific, including previously unsampled rookeries in the Ryukyu Archipelago, for a comprehensive coverage of the nesting distribution. We identified a total of 9 haplotypes based on 820 bp of the mtDNA control region, including 5 variants of a single previously described 380 bp haplotype. We discovered that 1 haplotype (CcP1.1) previously rare in the North Pacific is common in the Ryukyu Archipelago. Based on analysis of haplotype frequencies, we found significant differentiation among regionally grouped nesting populations (analysis of molecular variance p < 0.0001, df = 8; pairwise FST ranging from 0.033 to 0.145). Our results provide evidence to support the recognition of 3 management units (MU) within the NW Pacific Regional Management Unit (RMU). These include (1) the Ryukyu MU that includes Okinawa, Okinoerabu and Amami, (2) Yakushima Island MU and (3) a Mainland MU that includes Bousou, Enshu-nada, Shikoku, Kii and Eastern Kyushu. These new data from Japan will provide important baseline data for global genetic stock assessments and contribute to our understanding of the population structure, ecology and life history of this migratory marine species in the northern Pacific.


KEY WORDS: Mitochondrial DNA · Management units · Population differentiation · Caretta caretta


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Cite this article as: Matsuzawa Y, Kamezaki N, Ishihara T, Omuta K and others (2016) Fine-scale genetic population structure of loggerhead turtles in the Northwest Pacific. Endang Species Res 30:83-93. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00724

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