We here employ 11 microsatellite markers and recently developed litter reconstruction methods to infer mating system parameters (i.e. polyandry and breeding-site fidelity) at a lemon shark nursery site in Marquesas Key, Florida. Four hundred and eight juvenile or subadult sharks were genotyped over eight complete breeding seasons. Using this information, we were able to infer family structure, as well as fully or partially reconstruct genotypes of 46 mothers and 163 fathers. Multiple litter reconstruction methods were used, and novel simulations helped define apparent bias and precision of at least some mating system parameters. For Marquesas Key, we find that adult female lemon sharks display high levels of polyandry (81% of all litters sampled) and stronger fidelity to the nursery site than do males. Indeed, few male sharks sired offspring from more than one litter during the course of the study. These findings were quite similar to previous results from another lemon shark nursery site (Bimini, Bahamas), suggesting conserved mating system parameters despite significant variation in early life-history traits (i.e. body size and growth) among sites. The finding of at least some site fidelity in females also supports the need for careful conservation of each nursery.
- Litter reconstruction
- Mating system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)