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Conservation genetics and management of yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus, in the US Caribbean and South Florida


Eric Saillant, Department of Coastal Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, 703 East Beach Drive, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, USA (e-mail:


Abstract  Population-genetic structure and average long-term effective size of yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus (Bloch), sampled offshore from the Florida Keys and four localities in the US Caribbean, were investigated using nuclear-encoded microsatellites and a fragment of the mitochondrially encoded ND-4 gene. Analysis of spatial genetic variation revealed occurrence of up to four groupings (stocks) of yellowtail snapper: one in the Florida Keys, one along the west coast of Puerto Rico, one that includes the east coast of Puerto Rico and St. Thomas and one offshore of St. Croix. The observed genetic differences among localities are not strong, and additional sampling to examine whether the observed patterns of population structure are temporally stable is warranted. Levels of genetic variability and estimates of average, long-term effective size (Ne) indicate that yellowtail snapper at all five localities have, at present, sufficient genetic variation to maintain long-term integrity and sustainability.