Influence of the genetic structure of the red and blue shrimp, Aristeus antennatus (Risso, 1816), on the sustainability of a deep-sea population along a depth gradient in the western Mediterranean

The red and blue shrimp, Aristeus antennatus, inhabits deep shelf waters in the Mediterranean Sea, where the shallower portion of its distribution supports a large commercial fishery. Recent prospecting surveys in the western Mediterranean have detected virgin stocks dwelling at more than 1000 m, but the extent of gene flow between the exploited shallow-dwelling stock and the deep-dwelling stock is unknown. To investigate the genetic structure of the population and estimate the depth component of gene flow, a portion of the mitochondrial DNA 16S gene (547 pb) was sequenced for 321 individuals from four different depths (350, 700, 1100 and 1500 m) at a location in the Catalan Sea. Haplotype and nucleotide diversity values were low and did not significantly differ across depths. Analysis of molecular variance showed no significant genetic differences between depths. Mismatch distribution and neutrality tests indicated that A. antennatus has undergone recent demographic expansion in the two shallowest layers. Our results suggest that the species is genetically structured as a sort of metapopulation in which gene flow that occurs during the larval and juvenile stages, when larvae are carried downstream and juveniles are carried upstream by cascading, plays an important role in the resilience of the exploited layers ​
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