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Title

Conservation biology of longlived marine species: what can we learn from population genetics studies?

AuthorsLedoux, J. B. ; Mokhtar-Jamaï, Kenza; Pralong, Marine; Antunes, Agostinho; Aurelle, D.
Issue Date29-Nov-2013
CitationIntegrating New Advances in Mediterranean Oceanography and Marine Biology. Meeting program: 50 (2013)
AbstractThree levels of biodiversity deserve conservation attention in the context of global change: the ecosystem, the species and the genetic diversity. Accordingly, population genetics approaches that shed light on species ecology and evolution are widely used for conservation purposes. The characterization of neutral genetic polymorphism within species is used to define population structure in order to characterize management units or to estimate gene flow in order to infer population connectivity and recolonization abilities. To illustrate how population genetics can enhance conservation actions, we use recent results on the red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata and the red coral Corallium rubrum. These two Mediterranean gorgonians display a highly fragmented distribution and are characterized by a slow population dynamics and a short larval phase. Inhabiting contrasted habitats, they play a structural role in the coralligenous community, one of the richest but also most threatened community from the Mediterranean. Among different pressures resulting from human activities, the two gorgonians were affected by mass mortality events linked to positive thermal anomaly of the water column. In a first part, we show that the global genetic structure in the NW Mediterranean basin is equivalent in the two species with significant genetic differentiation at the scale of ten of meters and the occurrence of isolation by distance and regional genetic clustering. Complementary analyses demonstrate that C. rubrum shows higher dispersal abilities but lower effective population size than P. clavata. In a second part, we focus on the functioning of population. Isolation by distance between individuals was demonstrated in C. rubrum but not in P. clavata. In both cases, our results suggest the occurrence of a complex family structure with a high level of self-recruitment. To conclude, we discuss the implications of these results for the conservation of the two species. We suggest the definition of management units corresponding to the regional clusters. Within these units, the design of marine reserve networks should be focused on areas with high population density to account for the isolation by distance with restricted dispersal abilities. Moreover, restoration actions should account for the mainly close functioning of populations. We call for the development of similar studies in other species to enhance the conservation of the coralligenous community
DescriptionSymposium on Integrating New Advances in Mediterranean Oceanography and Marine Biology, 26-29 November 2013, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
Publisher version (URL)http://www.icm.csic.es/bio/medocean/information.htm#schedule
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/96661
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Comunicaciones congresos
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