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Phylogeography of the flathead mullet Mugil cephalus in the north-west Pacific as inferred from the mtDNA control region

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The population genetic structure and historical demography of the flathead mullet Mugil cephalus were investigated using the mtDNA control region (CR) sequences (909–1015 bp) of 126 individuals collected from seven locations in the north-west Pacific between 2005 and 2007. Haplotype diversity (h = 0·9333–1·000) and nucleotide diversity ( = 0·0046–0·1467) varied greatly among the sampling locations. Phylogenetic analysis of the CR sequences indicated that M. cephalus in the north-west Pacific belongs to two highly divergent lineages (lineages 1 and 2), with the inferred population structure being closely associated with the distribution of both lineages. Two populations were identified, one from the East China Sea and the other from the South China Sea. The former samples were obtained from Taiwan and Qingdao of north China and associated with lineage 1 haplotypes. The latter samples were collected from the Philippines, Pearl River of South China and two samples from Japan, all of which were associated with lineage 2. Japanese samples from Okinawa and Yokosuka had different degrees of mixing between lineages 1 and 2. Historical demographic variables in both populations indicated that Pleistocene glaciations had a strong impact on M. cephalus in the north-west Pacific, resulting in a recent demographic decline of the East China Sea population but in demographic equilibrium for the South China Sea population. Japan appears to be a contact zone between lineages 1 and 2, but it may also be indicative of coexistence between resident and migratory populations. Further global studies are required to clarify the taxonomic status of this cosmopolitan species.

Keywords: Mugil cephalus; geological events; mtDNA control region; north-west Pacific; phylogeography; population genetics

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Fisheries Science, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd, Taipei 10617, Taiwan 2: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UR5119 ECOLAG, Campus IRD/ISRA de Bel Air, BP 1386, CP 18524 Dakar, Sénégal

Publication date: August 1, 2009


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