Document Type

Article

Original Publication Date

2014

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PLOS ONE

Volume

9

DOI of Original Publication

10.1371/journal.pone.0102784

Comments

Originally Published at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102784

Date of Submission

November 2014

Abstract

The shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum, oft considered a phylogenetic relic, is listed as an “endangered species threatened with extinction” in the US and “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Effective conservation of A. brevirostrum depends on understanding its diversity and evolutionary processes, yet challenges associated with the polyploid nature of its nuclear genome have heretofore limited population genetic analysis to maternally inherited haploid characters. We developed a suite of polysomic microsatellite DNA markers and characterized a sample of 561 shortnose sturgeon collected from major extant populations along the North American Atlantic coast. The 181 alleles observed at 11 loci were scored as binary loci and the data were subjected to multivariate ordination, Bayesian clustering, hierarchical partitioning of variance, and among-population distance metric tests. The methods uncovered moderately high levels of gene diversity suggesting population structuring across and within three metapopulations (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast) that encompass seven demographically discrete and evolutionarily distinct lineages. The predicted groups are consistent with previously described behavioral patterns, especially dispersal and migration, supporting the interpretation that A. brevirostrum exhibit adaptive differences based on watershed. Combined with results of prior genetic (mitochondrial DNA) and behavioral studies, the current work suggests that dispersal is an important factor in maintaining genetic diversity in A. brevirostrum and that the basic unit for conservation management is arguably the local population.

Rights

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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