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Population structure and connectivity of the European conger eel (Conger conger) across the north-eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean: integrating molecular and otolith elemental approaches
Correia, A.T.; Ramos, A.A.; Barros, F.; Silva, G.; Hamer, P.; Morais, P.; Cunha, R.L.; Castilho, R. (2012). Population structure and connectivity of the European conger eel (Conger conger) across the north-eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean: integrating molecular and otolith elemental approaches. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(7): 1509-1525. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-012-1936-3
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Correia, A.T.
  • Ramos, A.A.
  • Barros, F.
  • Silva, G.
  • Hamer, P.
  • Morais, P.
  • Cunha, R.L.
  • Castilho, R.

Abstract
    Genetic variation (mtDNA) of the European conger eel, Conger conger, was compared across five locations in the north-eastern Atlantic (Madeira, Azores, South Portugal, North Portugal and Ireland) and one location in the western Mediterranean (Mallorca). Genetic diversity of conger eel was high, and differentiation among regions was not significant. Additionally, comparisons of element:Ca ratios (Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca, Mn:Ca and Mg:Ca) in otolith cores (larval phase) and edges (3 months prior to capture) among the Azores, North Portugal, Madeira and Mallorca regions for 2 years indicated that variation among regions were greater for edges than cores. Therefore, while benthic conger may display residency at regional scales, recruitment may not necessarily be derived from local spawning and larval retention. Furthermore, data from otoliths suggest a separated replenishment source for western Mediterranean and NE Atlantic stocks. The combination of genetics and otolith chemistry suggests a population model for conger eel involving a broad-scale dispersal of larvae, with limited connectivity for benthic juvenile life stages at large spatial scales, although the existence of one or multiple spawning grounds for the species remains uncertain.

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