MEPS 241:221-226 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps241221

A genetic fingerprint recapture technique for measuring growth in 'unmarkable' invertebrates: negative growth in commercially fished holothurians (Holothuria nobilis)

S. Uthicke1, J. A. H. Benzie2

1Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No 3, Townsville, Queensland 4810, Australia
2Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia

ABSTRACT: A DNA fingerprinting technique based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was developed to identify individual bêche-de-mer (Holothuria nobilis) and has allowed analysis of their growth in the wild. A size comparison of 74 individuals over two 6 mo periods and of 25 individuals over 12 mo showed that 1 kg individuals grew slowly (64 to 128 g annually). Larger holothurians (>1.5 kg) consistently decreased in weight, suggesting a plastic nature of weight in individual holothurians. This technique holds promise for ecological studies and for providing accurate data for the management of holothurians and other invertebrates that are difficult to tag.


KEY WORDS: Genetic tagging · DNA fingerprinting · Growth rates · Marine invertebrates · Bêche-de-mer


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