Population genetics and structure of the European conger (Conger conger) in the North Iberian coast and the Mediterranean Sea.

Population genetics and structure of the European conger (Conger conger) in the North Iberian coast and the Mediterranean Sea. Assessment of population genetic structure and diversity plays a vital role in species conservation and stock management. Recently, there were increasing calls for using multiple genetic markers to produce comprehensive results of application in practical resource exploitation as well as in population studies. In this study we focused on the conger eel Conger conger, a European fish highly appreciated for sport spearfishing and in commercial markets. We developed a panel of five microsatellite loci using heterologous primers designed by Kimura et al. (2003) for the congeneric species Conger myriaster. These are the first hypervariable nuclear loci described for Conger conger. A total of 67 different alleles were observed for Atlantic and Mediterranean samples (N=77) and the average number of alleles per locus was 13.4 (range 4-24 alleles), with allelic richness of 7.24 ± 3.78. Variation at these microsatellite loci was combined with nucleotide polymorphism at 395 bp of the mitochondrial control region to explore genetic structure and demographic history of Conger conger across the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay) and the west Mediterranean Sea. Mitochondrial DNA diversity indices showed overall high gene diversity (0.804±0.05) for these populations, but low nucleotide divergence (0.0051) between haplotypes. The average FST of all microsatellite loci (θ) was 0.002, which implied that only 0.2% genetic variation occurred among the considered populations. Low population differentiation between Cantabrian and Mediterranean areas was also concurred by mtDNA data but differences were one higher order of magnitude (Global FST = 0.0299, p=0.039). Moreover significant difference was found between the two locations at the edges of the sampled area, suggesting subtle spatial differentiation for this species in European waters. Reduced genetic diversity in the Mediterranean samples suggests regional reduction of population size, may be due to overexploitation.

Mirailles, L, Borell, Y, Lee, SL and Garcia, E (2016). Population genetic structure of the European conger (Conger conger) in North East Atlantic and West Mediterranean Sea. Fisheries Research 174; Pp 245-249.

ISCED Categories

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

0511 - Biology