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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Ocean Science and Engineering


The blackfin tuna, Thunnus atlanticus, is a small tropical tuna exploited by recreational and commercial fisheries in various parts of its range. Information on stock structure is needed to develop management plans for this species but is currently lacking. In this work, 470 blackfin tuna from nine geographic populations were assayed at 13 homologous microsatellite markers to provide a first assessment of stock structure across the species range. The overall divergence among locality samples was very low (overall FST = 0.0004) indicating high connectivity of blackfin tuna across their range. No clear grouping of localities in differentiated units was inferred but structuring followed a weak isolation by distance pattern (r = 0.16, P = 0.032). Pairwise exact tests and spatial analysis of molecular variance suggested divergence of the sample collected offshore Baía Formosa (Brazil) possibly reflecting reproductive isolation of Brazilian populations from those in the Caribbean region and further north. Further study of the status of Brazilian populations and the transition between this region and the Caribbean is warranted. Cryptic subdivision within the Northern Hemisphere part of the range is possible and should be evaluated using increased marker density and a more comprehensive geographic coverage.

Publication Title

Scientific Reports



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