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Inbreeding in the exploited limpet Patella aspera across the Macaronesia archipelagos (NE Atlantic): Implications for conservation

Inbreeding in the exploited limpet Patella aspera across the Macaronesia archipelagos (NE Atlantic): Implications for conservation
Inbreeding in the exploited limpet Patella aspera across the Macaronesia archipelagos (NE Atlantic): Implications for conservation
The genetic erosion of populations exposed to human exploitation plays a detrimental role on a species ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The Macaronesia (NE Atlantic) endemic limpet Patella aspera (Röding 1798) has been subject to overexploitation throughout its geographic distribution. We analysed 841 limpet specimens from eleven islands across the archipelagos of Azores, Madeira and Canaries. Results from 11 nuclear microsatellite markers showed significant population structure between populations from Azores and populations from Madeira and Canaries, and absence of current or historic gene flow between these. M-ratios showed that both population clusters have experienced demographic changes over time. Heterozygote deficits were common across populations, which can be better accounted for by inbreeding than by null alleles or Wahlund effect. Such levels of inbreeding are likely a consequence of a significant reduction of reproductive units due to decades of intensive exploitation. As a sequential protandrous hermaphrodite, the size-selective harvesting of larger individuals likely fosters unbalanced sex-ratios and a consequent reproductive shortage. A recent compensatory hypothesis suggests that males are compensating the removal of larger females by undergoing sex change earlier and presumably at smaller sizes, as an adaptive response of the species under high size-biased fishing pressure. Despite such response, a dramatic reduction of Ne emerging from a large variation in the reproductive success due to overfishing and artificial genetic drift, can simply explain the inbreeding scenario observed in this Macaronesia endemic key species. This study provides valuable insights for management and conservation of P. aspera throughout Macaronesia.
0165-7836
180-188
Faria, João
9181cfa2-94af-4671-872a-af092c010253
Pita, Alfonso
3941a65e-d445-4cd0-9ead-f203fc984bae
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Ribeiro, Pedro A.
b46f616a-21ae-4f3d-93c6-68c86cd08af8
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Presa, Pablo
5f7a6509-ca11-4409-80ac-bdcf131a4cf8
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b
Faria, João
9181cfa2-94af-4671-872a-af092c010253
Pita, Alfonso
3941a65e-d445-4cd0-9ead-f203fc984bae
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Ribeiro, Pedro A.
b46f616a-21ae-4f3d-93c6-68c86cd08af8
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Presa, Pablo
5f7a6509-ca11-4409-80ac-bdcf131a4cf8
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b

Faria, João, Pita, Alfonso, Martins, Gustavo M., Ribeiro, Pedro A., Hawkins, Stephen J., Presa, Pablo and Neto, Ana I. (2018) Inbreeding in the exploited limpet Patella aspera across the Macaronesia archipelagos (NE Atlantic): Implications for conservation Fisheries Research, 198, pp. 180-188. (doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2017.09.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The genetic erosion of populations exposed to human exploitation plays a detrimental role on a species ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The Macaronesia (NE Atlantic) endemic limpet Patella aspera (Röding 1798) has been subject to overexploitation throughout its geographic distribution. We analysed 841 limpet specimens from eleven islands across the archipelagos of Azores, Madeira and Canaries. Results from 11 nuclear microsatellite markers showed significant population structure between populations from Azores and populations from Madeira and Canaries, and absence of current or historic gene flow between these. M-ratios showed that both population clusters have experienced demographic changes over time. Heterozygote deficits were common across populations, which can be better accounted for by inbreeding than by null alleles or Wahlund effect. Such levels of inbreeding are likely a consequence of a significant reduction of reproductive units due to decades of intensive exploitation. As a sequential protandrous hermaphrodite, the size-selective harvesting of larger individuals likely fosters unbalanced sex-ratios and a consequent reproductive shortage. A recent compensatory hypothesis suggests that males are compensating the removal of larger females by undergoing sex change earlier and presumably at smaller sizes, as an adaptive response of the species under high size-biased fishing pressure. Despite such response, a dramatic reduction of Ne emerging from a large variation in the reproductive success due to overfishing and artificial genetic drift, can simply explain the inbreeding scenario observed in this Macaronesia endemic key species. This study provides valuable insights for management and conservation of P. aspera throughout Macaronesia.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 September 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 September 2017
Published date: 1 February 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 414721
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414721
ISSN: 0165-7836
PURE UUID: be68028b-8711-4890-a8f5-4ebb15432063

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Date deposited: 09 Oct 2017 16:30
Last modified: 08 Nov 2017 17:30

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Contributors

Author: João Faria
Author: Alfonso Pita
Author: Gustavo M. Martins
Author: Pedro A. Ribeiro
Author: Pablo Presa
Author: Ana I. Neto

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