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Panmixia in the endangered slipper lobster Scyllarides latus from the northeastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean

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In the marine realm, it is important to understand the connectivity and population dynamics of commercially exploited species; this information promotes sustainable fishing practices. The large slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus (Latreille, 1803), is a commercially valuable crustacean that has been over-exploited in many areas throughout its distribution range in the northeastern (hereafter NE) Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Here, we report the first molecular population genetic study of S. latus based on 9 nuclear microsatellite loci. A total of 128 specimens of S. latus were collected in the Western Mediterranean (2 locations) and four regions (13 locations) in the NE Atlantic, including Southern Portugal and the Macaronesian archipelagos of Azores, Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Maximum number of alleles per locus ranged from 4 to 14, and observed heterozygosity per locus ranged from 0.143 to 0.795 (0.539 ± 0.087, mean ± SE). Pairwise region estimates of F ST , R ST and D est were very low (<0.040) and not significant in all comparisons. Bayesian clustering analysis also suggested homogeneity in S. latus across all regions. The Almeria-Oran front, an important biogeographic boundary between the Atlantic and Mediterranean basins, was not found to have a significant impact on the genetic structuring of S. latus. Overall, all of our analyses of genetic differentiation and migration suggested panmixia in S. latus across its distributional range. Such pattern is likely to result from its high fecundity and long-lived pelagic larva, which can promote high levels of connectivity between geographically distant populations. Future conservation strategies should manage all S. latus populations jointly (one stock).

Affiliations: 1: 2CIIMAR/CIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Rua dos Bragas 289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal; 2: 3BIOGES, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Las Palmas de G.C., Spain; 3: 1CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal


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