MEPS 442:187-199 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09352

Genetic mixed-stock analysis of Atlantic herring populations in a mixed feeding area

Dorte Bekkevold1,*, Lotte A. W. Clausen1, Stefano Mariani2,9, Carl André3, Emma M. C. Hatfield4, Else Torstensen5, Nils Ryman6, Gary R. Carvalho7, Daniel E. Ruzzante8

1National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Vejlsøvej 39, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
3Department of Marine Ecology-Tjärnö, University of Gothenburg, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden
4Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK
5Institute of Marine Research, Research Station Flødevigen, 4817 His, Norway
6Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
7Molecular Ecology and Fisheries Genetics Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor LL57 2UW UK
8Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS B3H 4J1, Canada
9Present address: School of Biology & Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

ABSTRACT: Determining spatio-temporal distributions of fish populations is of interest to marine ecology, in general, and to fisheries science in particular. Genetic mixed-stock analysis is routinely applied in several anadromous fishes for determining migratory routes and timing but has rarely been used for marine fishes, for which population differentiation is commonly weak and the method presumably less powerful. We used microsatellite information for Northeast Atlantic herring Clupea harengus L. populations and mixed stocks to address 2 questions. We used simulated mixture samples and 3 different statistical approaches to determine whether mixed stock composition could be determined with accuracy. Simulations showed that the applied approaches and mixture samples of 100 individuals enabled detailed composition analyses on a regional level, with resolution for tracing the ecologically dominant Rügen (Greifswalder Bodden) herring population. We then estimated spatio-temporal variation in herring migratory behaviour in the Skagerrak from 17 mixed samples collected over 2 seasons and 2 yr, and identified hitherto undescribed differences in distributions among populations that feed and winter in the area.


KEY WORDS: Genetic clustering · Genetic stock identification · GSI · Population structure · Simulation analysis · Skagerrak · Baltic Sea · Migration · Clupea harengus


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Cite this article as: Bekkevold D, Clausen LAW, Mariani S, André C and others (2011) Genetic mixed-stock analysis of Atlantic herring populations in a mixed feeding area. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 442:187-199. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09352

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