Population Genetic and Phylogeographic Structure of Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, From the Western Central Atlantic and Central Pacific Oceans

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


The wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier, 1832), is a pelagic, highly migratory, scombroid fish, distributed worldwide throughout tropical and warm temperate seas. To evaluate population genetic and phylogeographic structure against a null hypothesis of panmixia, the entire mitochondrial DNA control-region (∼ 890 base pairs) was sequenced for 231 wahoo. Samples were collected from 1997 to 2001 from seven sites: North Carolina (NC; n=23), east central Florida (CF; n=30), Bimini, Bahamas (BB; n=40), southern tip of Florida (SF; n=21), Cayman Islands (CI; n=23), northern Gulf of Mexico (NG; n=54), and Hawaii (HI; n=40). Inter-annual samples were obtained from four of these locations (NC, BB, SF, NG). Seventeen haplotypes were shared by individuals within and among samples; 187 singleton haplotypes were observed. Within-sample haplotype diversities ranged from 0.995 to 1.000 (overall h=0.999) and within-sample nucleotide diversities ranged from 0.049 to 0.055 (overall π=0.053). A neighbor-joining tree based on inter-haplotypic distances revealed two monophyletic lineages differing by 13.6% nucleotide divergence. Nested within each major lineage were several, well-supported subclades. There was no evidence of temporal heterogeneity in haplotype distributions. Partitioning mtDNA variation, 99.75% of the variance was within samples and 0.25% (P=0.307) between samples; the fixation index (&UPhi;(ST)=0.0025) was not significant. Likewise, pairwise &UPhi;(ST) values were low or negative, and none were significant on a table-wide basis. Exact tests for sample differentiation in haplotypes were also non-significant. All population analyses were consistent with the null hypothesis of panmixia. However, analytical power was limited by sample size. Mismatch distributions were inconsistent with expected distributions based on sudden-expansion and static-growth models. Wahoo exhibit concurrently high haplotype and nucleotide diversities, presumably a consequence of secondary contact between historical subpopulations rather than a long, stable evolutionary history. Given the level of geographic and individual sampling, wahoo thus far represent the sole example of a scombroid or xiphioid fish exhibiting coarse-grain genetic homogeneity across a broad, inter-oceanic range despite a deeply coalescing genealogical structure. Accordingly, cooperative fishery management on a broad, inter-ocean scale may be warranted.

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Marine Biology





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