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Keywords:

  • elasmobranchs;
  • genetic variability;
  • microsatellites;
  • population genetic structure;
  • sharks

Abstract

DNA microsatellite markers were used to characterize the population genetic structure of the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, in the western Atlantic. This study demonstrates for the first time the usefulness of microsatellites to study population genetic structure and mating systems in the Chondricthyes. Lemon sharks (mostly juveniles) were sampled non-destructively from four locations, Gullivan Bay and Marquesas Key in Florida, Bimini, Bahamas, and Atol das Rocas, Brazil. At least 545 individuals were genotyped at each of four dinucleotide loci. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 19 to 43, and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.69 to 0.90. Relatively little genetic structure was found in the western Atlantic, with small but significant values for estimators of FST and RST among populations, θ (0.016) and ρ (0.026), respectively. No sharp discontinuities were found between the Caribbean sites and Brazil, and most alleles were found at all four sites, indicating that gene flow occurs throughout the western Atlantic with no evidence for distinct stocks.