Genomic analyses suggest strong population connectivity over large spatial scales of the commercially important baitworm, Australonuphis teres (Onuphidae)

Amanda Padovan*, Rowan C. Chick, Victoria J. Cole, Ludovic Dutoit, Patricia A. Hutchings, Cameron Jack, Ceridwen I. Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Barriers to dispersal can disrupt gene flow between populations, resulting in genetically distinct populations. Although many marine animals have potential for long-distance dispersal via a planktonic stage, gene flow among populations separated by large geographic distances is not always evident. Polychaetes are ecologically important and have been used as biological surrogates for marine biodiversity. Some polychaete species are used as bait for recreational fisheries, with this demand supporting commercial fisheries for polychaetes to service the retail bait market. However, despite their ecological and economic importance, very little is known about the life history or population dynamics of polychaetes, and few studies have used genetic or genomic approaches to understand polychaete population connectivity. Here, we investigate the population structure of one commonly collected beachworm species used for bait on the eastern coast of Australia, namely, Australonuphis teres, by using genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data. We sampled A. teres from hierarchical nested spatial scales along 900 km of the coast in New South Wales. We identified six genetic groups, but there was no clear geographic pattern of distribution. Our results suggest that there is considerable gene flow among the sampled populations. These high-resolution genomic data support the findings of previous studies, and we infer that oceanographic processes promote genetic exchange among polychaete populations in south-eastern Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1556
Number of pages8
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • admixture
  • fisheries
  • genotype-by-sequencing
  • management
  • polychaete
  • population structure
  • SNP


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