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Population genetic structure of the round stingray Urobatis halleri (Elasmobranchii: Rajiformes) in southern California and the Gulf of California

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The round stingray, Urobatis halleri, is a viviparous elasmobranch that inhabits inshore, benthic habitats ranging from the western U.S.A. to Panama. The population genetic structure of this species was inferred with seven polymorphic microsatellite loci in samples collected at three sites in coastal southern California, one near Santa Catalina Island, California and one in the eastern Gulf of California. Urobatis halleri is relatively common, but little is known of its movement patterns or population structure. Small FST values (−0·0017 to 0·0005) suggested little structure among coastal populations of southern and Baja California. The population sampled at Santa Catalina Island, which is separated by a deep-water channel from the coastal sites, however, was significantly divergent (large FST, 0·0251) from the other populations, suggesting low connectivity with coastal populations. The Santa Catalina Island population also had the lowest allele richness and lowest average heterozygosity, suggesting recent population bottlenecks in size.

Keywords: Santa Catalina Island; founder event; genetic bottleneck; microsatellite alleles; population structure

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840-3702, U.S.A. 2: Field Museum, Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, U.S.A.

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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