Local population structure and context-dependent isolation by distance in a large coastal shark

Jimiane L. Ashe, Kevin A. Feldheim, Andrew T. Fields, Eric A. Reyier, Edward J. Brooks, Martin T. O'Connell, Gregory Skomal, Samuel H. Gruber, Demian D. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Genetic diversity, population genetic structure and isolation by distance (IBD) were assessed in a viviparous coastal shark (the lemon shark Negaprion brevirostris) across 8 western Atlantic samples spaced between ∼150 and 7000 km apart. Juveniles (N = 325) were sequenced at 2 mitochondrial loci (1729 bp) and typed at 9 nuclear encoded microsatellite loci. Analysis of mitochondrial sequences revealed higher diversity at low-latitude island samples compared to highlatitude continental samples, consistent with an equatorial center-of-origin for this species. There were 5 distinct groups across our sampling areas (Brazil, Louisiana, Cape Canaveral, Gullivan Bay and the Florida Keys/Bahamas/Virgin Islands; pairwise ℙST = 0.07-0.87) and all but one pair of the 8 samples also exhibited significantly different haplotype frequencies (pairwise FST = 0.10-0.51). Bayesian analysis indicated that the Brazil and Louisiana samples were generally isolated from the others, but most of the rest were diverged although still connected or recently connected by migration. In contrast, structure was only detected between the most distant sample (Brazil) and all of the others using the microsatellite markers (pairwise FST = 0.03-0.06). There was a significant pattern of IBD for all markers and measures of genetic differentiation (r2 = 0.65-0.81, p < 0.05- 0.01), but not after removing the Brazil sample. There was evidence that glacial and post-glacial historical processes and sex-specific differences in philopatry affected IBD. Because of the relatively fine-scale population structure of this and other large coastal shark species more attention should be paid to local processes in the conservation and fisheries management of these species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - Feb 3 2015


  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Phylogeography
  • Population structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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