Assessment of Shellfish Aquaculture and Harvesting Impacts on the genetic diversity of two estuaries in Northern of Spain

Estuaries are one of the most important habitats of coastal areas. However, they are significantly affected by human activities worldwide, threatening their resources and the commercial uses depending on them. Molecular genetic markers can be used to perform genetic monitoring of populations, which can provide information relevant for management policies. Here, we tried to assess the impacts of anthropogenic activities in two estuaries in Asturias (northern Spain), where most of the shellfish harvesting and aquaculture activities of this region occurs (Ria de Villaviciosa and Ria del Eo) using two case study species groups. One, an introduced species being mainly used for aquaculture purposes i.e. Crassostrea gigas and the other species group being exclusively harvested i.e. Solen marginatus and Ensis spp. We found significant genetic differentiation between the two estuaries for C. gigas and S. marginatus using the mitochondrial COI gene. Furthermore, the identification and presence of Ensis sp. in the studied estuaries revealed the current occurrence of two different species (Ensis ensis inside Ria del Eo and Ensis directus, an invasive species, in Ria de Villaviciosa). Our results show how human activities (harvesting, aquaculture and pollution) modulate the shape of genetic diversity patterns in estuaries under commercial exploitation.

DOI:10.1111/are.12745 (2015)

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0831 - Aquaculture", "0831 - Fisheries