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Evidence for reproductive philopatry in the bull shark Carcharhinus leucas

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Reproductive philopatry in bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas was investigated by comparing mitochondrial (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4, 797 base pairs and control region genes 837 base pairs) and nuclear (three microsatellite loci) DNA of juveniles sampled from 13 river systems across northern Australia. High mitochondrial and low microsatellite genetic diversity among juveniles sampled from different rivers (mitochondrial φ ST = 0·0767, P < 0·05; microsatellite F ST = −0·0022, P > 0·05) supported female reproductive philopatry. Genetic structure was not further influenced by geographic distance (P > 0·05) or long‐shore barriers to movement (P > 0·05). Additionally, results suggest that C. leucas in northern Australia has a long‐term effective population size of 11 000–13 000 females and has undergone population bottlenecks and expansions that coincide with the timing of the last ice‐ages.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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