TITLE

Conservation Genetics of Threatened Hippocampus guttulatus in Vulnerable Habitats in NW Spain: Temporal and Spatial Stability of Wild Populations with Flexible Polygamous Mating System in Captivity

AUTHOR(S)
López, Almudena; Vera, Manuel; Planas, Miquel; Bouza, Carmen
PUB. DATE
February 2015
SOURCE
PLoS ONE;Feb2015, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This study was focused on conservation genetics of threatened Hippocampus guttulatus on the Atlantic coast of NW Iberian Peninsula. Information about spatial structure and temporal stability of wild populations was obtained based on microsatellite markers, and used for monitoring a captive breeding program firstly initiated in this zone at the facilities of the Institute of Marine Research (Vigo, Spain). No significant major genetic structure was observed regarding the biogeographical barrier of Cape Finisterre. However, two management units under continuous gene flow are proposed based on the allelic differentiation between South-Atlantic and Cantabrian subpopulations, with small to moderate contemporary effective size based on single-sample methods. Temporal stability was observed in South-Atlantic population samples of H. guttulatus for the six-year period studied, suggesting large enough effective population size to buffer the effects of genetic drift within the time frame of three generations. Genetic analysis of wild breeders and offspring in captivity since 2009 allowed us to monitor the breeding program founded in 2006 in NW Spain for this species. Similar genetic diversity in the renewed and founder broodstock, regarding the wild population of origin, supports suitable renewal and rearing processes to maintain genetic variation in captivity. Genetic parentage proved single-brood monogamy in the wild and in captivity, but flexible short- and long-term mating system under captive conditions, from strict monogamy to polygamy within and/or among breeding seasons. Family analysis showed high reproductive success in captivity under genetic management assisted by molecular relatedness estimates to avoid inbreeding. This study provides genetic information about H. guttulatus in the wild and captivity within an uncovered geographical range for this data deficient species, to be taken into account for management and conservation purposes.
ACCESSION #
101319689

 

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