Demographic Processes Underlying Subtle Patterns of Population Structure in the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Sphyrna lewini

Published on 14 July 2011.

Nance HA, Klimley P, Galván-Magaña F, Martínez-Ortíz J, Marko PB .


Genetic diversity (θ), effective population size (Ne), and contemporary levels of gene flow are important parameters to estimate for species of conservation concern, such as the globally endangered scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini. Therefore, we have reconstructed the demographic history of S. lewini across its Eastern Pacific (EP) range by applying classical and coalescent population genetic methods to a combination of 15 microsatellite loci and mtDNA control region sequences. In addition to significant population genetic structure and isolation-by-distance among seven coastal sites between central Mexico and Ecuador, the analyses revealed that all populations have experienced a bottleneck and that all current values of θ are at least an order of magnitude smaller than ancestral θ, indicating large decreases in Ne (θ = 4Neμ), where μ is the mutation rate. Application of the isolation-with-migration (IM) model showed modest but significant genetic connectivity between most sampled sites (point estimates of Nm = 0.1–16.7), with divergence times (t) among all populations significantly greater than zero. Using a conservative (i.e., slow) fossil-based taxon-specific phylogenetic calibration for mtDNA mutation rates, posterior probability distributions (PPDs) for the onset of the decline in Ne predate modern fishing in this region. The cause of decline over the last several thousand years is unknown but is highly atypical as a post-glacial demographic history. Regardless of the cause, our data and analyses suggest that S. lewini was far more abundant throughout the EP in the past than at present.

PLoS ONE 6(7): e21459. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021459

SOURCE: Open-Access Article on PLoS ONE.


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