Levels of self-recruitment within and connectivity among populations are key factors influencing marine population persistence and stock sustainability, as well as the effectiveness of spatially explicit management strategies such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In the United Kingdom (UK), Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel was designated a No-Take Zone (NTZ) in 2003 and became the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in 2009. This NTZ is expected to represent an additional resource for the sustainable management of the European lobster (Homarus gammarus) fishery. As the first step in a genetic monitoring program, this study aimed to investigate population genetic structure of lobster within and between the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel and in doing so to assess the functioning of the Lundy NTZ in the context of connectivity and other genetic parameters. Analysis of microsatellite data indicated that lobsters within the study area are genetically homogeneous and supports the view of a single panmictic population wherein the Lundy NTZ is highly connected. Levels of genetic variability were universally high with no evidence of differences for the NTZ. Furthermore, there was no evidence of recent genetic bottlenecks, and estimates of effective population sizes were infinitely large. The results suggest that if current management and breeding stock sizes are maintained genetic drift will not be strong enough to reduce neutral genetic diversity.
|Number of pages||7|
|Early online date||04 Jul 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Nov 2016|
- marine protected area
- population genetics
- larval connectivity
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- Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Department of Life Sciences - Senior Lecturer
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