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Temporal genetic variation as revealed by a microsatellite analysis of European sardine (Sardina pilchardus) archived samples

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The Adriatic stock of European sardine (Sardina pilchardus) has experienced large interannual demographic fluctuations over the last 30 years, with a severe decline beginning in 1991 and continuing until 1997. In the present study, six microsatellite loci were used on a time series collection of otoliths and scales from sampling locations of northern (Chioggia) and southern (Vieste) Adriatic Sea, with the aim to investigate the genetic effects of these stock biomass fluctuations. The northern samples showed significant reduction in observed heterozygosity (H O) and mean number of alleles (N a) that explain the genetic diversity variation, while the same parameters turned out to be more stable in the southern samples. In addition, we detected the presence of a genetic bottleneck and low effective population size (N e) values in several northern samples. Even if the northern and southern Adriatic sardine samples belong to the same genetic stock, the more pronounced decrease in genetic variability recorded in the northern sample led us to speculate that a more intensive fishing pressure and a more pronounced oceanographic isolation of this area could have accentuated the effects of the genetic bottleneck.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy. 2: FAO–FIMF, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Roma, Italy. 3: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze Marine Sezione Pesca Marittima, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 60125 Ancona, Italy.

Publication date: October 5, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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