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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 499:193-201 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10637

Genetic structure among spawning aggregations of the gulf coney Hyporthodus acanthistius

Ricardo Beldade1,2,3,4,*, Alexis M. Jackson1, Richard Cudney-Bueno5,6, Peter T. Raimondi1, Giacomo Bernardi1

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
2USR 3278 CRIOBE, CNRS EPHE, CBETM de l’Université de Perpignan, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
3Laboratoire d’excellence ‘Corail, USR 3278 CRIOBE CNRS-EPHE, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
4Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, Centro de Oceanografia, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
5School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Biological Sciences East, Room 325, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
6Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Many large groupers form spawning aggregations, returning to the same spawning sites in consecutive spawning seasons. Connectivity between spawning aggregations is thus assured by larval dispersal. This study looks into the genetic structure and gene flow among spawning aggregations of a large grouper, the gulf coney Hyporthodus acanthistius, in the northern Gulf of California. First, using the mitochondrial control region and 11 microsatellites, we calculated FST metrics and conducted a Bayesian clustering analysis to determine structure among 5 spawning aggregations. Shallow genetic structure was found, separating the southernmost spawning aggregate from the remainder. Second, we used the results from the structure analysis and local water circulation patterns to delineate 3 distinct models of gene flow. The best-supported model, in which the southernmost spawning aggregate formed one group and all other spawning aggregates were nested into a second group, was the one that was consistent with water circulation during the species’ spawning season. Larval retention within a seasonal anticyclonic gyre that formed during the gulf coney’s spawning season may be responsible for the patterns found. This study highlights the importance of local oceanographic conditions in dictating the structure among spawning aggregations even at small geographic scales and contributes to informed management plans for this overexploited grouper.


KEY WORDS: Grouper · Dispersal · Connectivity · Sea of Cortez · Oceanography · Eddies · Retention · Migration models · Rooster hind · Epinephelus


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Cite this article as: Beldade R, Jackson AM, Cudney-Bueno R, Raimondi PT, Bernardi G (2014) Genetic structure among spawning aggregations of the gulf coney Hyporthodus acanthistius. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 499:193-201. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10637

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