Connectivity in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) determined using empirical and simulated genetic data

Momigliano, Paolo, Harcourt, Robert, Robbins, William D., and Stow, Adam (2015) Connectivity in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) determined using empirical and simulated genetic data. Scientific Reports, 5. 13229.

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Abstract

Grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) can be one of the numerically dominant high order predators on pristine coral reefs, yet their numbers have declined even in the highly regulated Australian Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park. Knowledge of both large scale and fine scale genetic connectivity of grey reef sharks is essential for their effective management, but no genetic data are yet available. We investigated grey reef shark genetic structure in the GBR across a 1200km latitudinal gradient, comparing empirical data with models simulating different levels of migration. The empirical data did not reveal any genetic structuring along the entire latitudinal gradient sampled, suggesting regular widespread dispersal and gene flow of the species throughout most of the GBR. Our simulated datasets indicate that even with substantial migrations (up to 25% of individuals migrating between neighboring reefs) both large scale genetic structure and genotypic spatial autocorrelation at the reef scale were maintained. We suggest that present migration rates therefore exceed this level. These findings have important implications regarding the effectiveness of networks of spatially discontinuous Marine Protected Areas to protect reef sharks.

Item ID: 44438
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: Macquarie University, Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation (SWR)
Projects and Grants: SWR/7/2013
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 00:47
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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