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Historical isolation and hydrodynamically constrained gene flow in declining populations of the South-African abalone, Haliotis midae
Bester-van der Merwe, A.E.; Roodt-Wilding, R.; Volckaert, F.A.M.; D'Amato, M.E. (2011). Historical isolation and hydrodynamically constrained gene flow in declining populations of the South-African abalone, Haliotis midae. Conserv. Genet. 12(2): 543-555.
In: Conservation Genetics. Springer: London; Dordrecht; Boston. ISSN 1566-0621, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 279082 [ OMA ]

    Haliotis midae Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Conservation; Dispersal; Haliotis midae; Hydrodynamics; Microsatellites;Population differentiation; SNPs

Authors  Top 
  • Bester-van der Merwe, A.E.
  • Roodt-Wilding, R.
  • Volckaert, F.A.M., more
  • D'Amato, M.E.

    Over the past two decades, the South African abalone (Haliotis midae), has been under serious threat mainly due to overexploitation. To assure successful management and conservation of wild stocks, the consideration of species-specific evolutionary and population dynamic aspects is critical. In this study, eight microsatellites and 12 single nucleotide polymorphic loci (SNPs) were applied to determine genetic structure in nine populations sampled throughout the species’ natural distribution range. It spans along three biogeographical regions of the South African coastline: temperate in the West coast, warm temperate in the South coast and subtropical in the East coast. Data analysis applying frequentist and Bayesian-based clustering methods indicated weak genetic differentiation between populations of the West, South and East coast. Spatial Bayesian inference further revealed clinal variation along a longitudinal gradient and a transitional zone in the South coast. Coalescent analysis of long-term migration showed restricted interchange among the sampling locations of the South coast while estimates of effective population size were comparable between coastal regions. Furthermore demographic analysis of microsatellite data suggested population expansion, probably reflecting range expansion that occurred following glacial retreat during the Pleistocene. Overall, population structure analysis suggested contemporary (hydrographical conditions) as well as historical (Pleistocene contraction of habitat) restrictions to gene flow. This study provides the foundation for the establishment of an integrated management policy for preserving the natural diversity and adaptive potential of H. midae.

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