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Evidence of genetic subdivision among populations of blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra Leach) in Tasmania


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Temby, N, Miller, KJ and Mundy, CN 2007 , 'Evidence of genetic subdivision among populations of blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra Leach) in Tasmania' , Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 58, no. 8 , pp. 733-742 , doi: 10.1071/MF07015.

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The scale over which populations exchange individuals (migration) is central to ecology, and important for
understanding recruitment and connectivity in commercial species. Field studies indicate that blacklip abalone (Haliotis
rubra) have localised larval dispersal. However, genetic studies show differentiation only at large scales, suggesting
dispersal over more than 100 km. Most genetic studies, however, have failed to test for subdivision at scales equivalent to
field experiments.We used microsatellite DNA to investigate genetic structure at small scales (100m to 10 km) in blacklip
abalone in south-east Tasmania.We found significant subdivision (FST =0.021; P<0.05) among sites, and hierarchical
FST analysis indicated 64% of genetic variation was at the smallest scale, supporting field studies that concluded larval
dispersal is less than 100 m. We also tested if genetic differentiation varied predictably with wave exposure, but found
no evidence that differences between adjacent sites in exposed locations varied from differences between adjacent sites
in sheltered populations (mean FST =0.016 and 0.017 respectively). Our results show the usefulness of microsatellites
for abalone, but also identify sampling scales as critical in understanding gene flow and dispersal of abalone larvae in an
ecologically relevant framework. Importantly, our results indicate that H. rubra populations are self-recruiting, which will
be important for the management of this commercial species.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Temby, N and Miller, KJ and Mundy, CN
Keywords: abalone, fisheries management, gene flow, habitat, larval dispersal, microsatellite DNA.
Journal or Publication Title: Marine and Freshwater Research
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/MF07015
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Copyright, CSIRO 2007. Definitive version available online at

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