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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Genetic structure and average long-term connectivity and effective size of mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) sampled from offshore localities in the U.S. Caribbean and the Florida Keys were assessed by using nuclear-encoded microsatellites and a fragment of mitochondrial DNA. No significant differences in allele, genotype (microsatellites), or haplotype (mtDNA) distributions were detected; tests of selective neutrality (mtDNA) were nonsignificant after Bonferroni correction. Heuristic estimates of average long-term rate of migration (proportion of migrant individuals/generation) between geographically adjacent localities varied from 0.0033 to 0.0054, indicating that local subpopulations could respond independently of environmental perturbations. Estimates of average long-term effective population sizes varied from 341 to 1066 and differed significantly among several of the localities. These results indicate that over time larval drift and interregional adult movement may not be sufficient to maintain population sustainability across the region and that there may be different demographic stocks at some of the localities studied. The estimate of long-term effective population size at the locality offshore of St. Croix was below the minimum threshold size considered necessary to maintain the equilibrium between the loss of adaptive genetic variance from genetic drift and its replacement by mutation. Genetic variability in mutton snapper likely is maintained at the intraregional level by aggregate spawning and random mating of local populations. This feature is perhaps ironic in that aggregate spawning also renders mutton snapper especially vulnerable to overexploitation.

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Fishery Bulletin





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