Population expansion and genetic structure in Carcharhinus brevipinna in the Southern Indo-Pacific

Pascal T. Geraghty, Jane E. Williamson, William G. Macbeth, Sabine P. Wintner, Alastair V. Harry, Jennifer R. Ovenden, Michael R. Gillings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Background:Quantifying genetic diversity and metapopulation structure provides insights into the evolutionary history of a species and helps develop appropriate management strategies. We provide the first assessment of genetic structure in spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna), a large cosmopolitan carcharhinid, sampled from eastern and northern Australia and South Africa.Methods and Findings:Sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 gene for 430 individuals revealed 37 haplotypes and moderately high haplotype diversity (h = 0.6770 ±0.025). While two metrics of genetic divergence (ΦST and FST) revealed somewhat different results, subdivision was detected between South Africa and all Australian locations (pairwise ΦST, range 0.02717-0.03508, p values ≤ 0.0013; pairwise FST South Africa vs New South Wales = 0.04056, p = 0.0008). Evidence for fine-scale genetic structuring was also detected along Australia's east coast (pairwise ΦST = 0.01328, p < 0.015), and between south-eastern and northern locations (pairwise ΦST = 0.00669, p < 0.04).Conclusions:The Indian Ocean represents a robust barrier to contemporary gene flow in C. brevipinna between Australia and South Africa. Gene flow also appears restricted along a continuous continental margin in this species, with data tentatively suggesting the delineation of two management units within Australian waters. Further sampling, however, is required for a more robust evaluation of the latter finding. Evidence indicates that all sampled populations were shaped by a substantial demographic expansion event, with the resultant high genetic diversity being cause for optimism when considering conservation of this commercially-targeted species in the southern Indo-Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75169
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2013

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Copyright the Author(s) 2013. 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.


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