Demersal elasmobranchs are ecologically important mesopredators but little is known about their population connectivity or dispersal patterns. Here we use a comparative approach based on mitochondrial DNA and nuclear amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to examine spatial genetic structure and dispersal in three closely related demersal elasmobranchs from eastern Australia: Orectolobus halei, Orectolobus maculatus, and Orectolobus ornatus. We found evidence of significant spatial genetic structure, possibly indicating regional philopatry in wobbegongs. The molecular data also indicate that dispersal in wobbegongs may be sex-biased. This represents the first genetic study of dispersal and population connectivity in codistributed demersal sharks. It provides insights into the ecology of dispersal behaviours with implications for conservation management of demersal species.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2016|