Molecular genetic structure suggests limited larval dispersal in grass rockfish, Sebastes rastrelliger
Published on Jun 24, 2003in Marine Biology2.05
· DOI :10.1007/S00227-004-1362-2
The grass rockfish (Sebastes rastrelliger Jordan and Gilbert, 1880) is a non-migratory, benthic, near shore species distributed along rocky reefs and sea grass beds. It occurs from Baja California, Mexico, to Oregon, USA, spanning the Oregonian and Californian biogeographic provinces. In California this fish receives intense fishing pressure from an expanding and loosely regulated live-fish fishery. It is not known whether or by what mechanism larvae and juveniles are retained locally or dispersed widely during the early life-history phase. Tissue samples of S. rastrelliger were collected between 1996 and 2001 from 405 adult fish at eight sites (42.70°N; 124.50°W to 32.67°N; 117.25°W) spanning the species’ range. Individuals were surveyed for polymorphism at six microsatellite loci. Allele frequency heterogeneity was not significant among all sites (FST=0.001; P=0.18), nor in pairwise comparisons, but a clear correlation of genetic and geographic distance was detected (P=0.019). Fit of genetic and geographic distance was stronger within biogeographic provinces than at a range-wide scale, suggesting that populations north and south of the Point Conception biogeographic boundary are not in equilibrium with respect to migration and genetic drift. Estimates of mean coastal dispersal distances associated with the isolation-by-distance relationship are on the order of 10 km generation−1. Such limited dispersal in a species with a pelagic early life history suggests active retention mechanisms near the shore. This has important implications for coastal management zones and design of marine reserves.