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Genetic population structure and demography of an apex predator, the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Temple, Professor Per Berggren, Dr Helene Magalon



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Population genetics has been increasingly applied to study large sharks over the lastdecade. Whilst large shark species are often difficult to study with direct methods,improved knowledge is needed for both population management and conservation,especially for species vulnerable to anthropogenic and climatic impacts. The tigershark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is an apex predator known to play important direct and indirectroles in tropical and subtropical marine ecosystems. While the global and Indo‐West Pacific population genetic structure of this species has recently beeninvestigated, questions remain over population structure and demographic historywithin the western Indian (WIO) and within the western Pacific Oceans (WPO). Toaddress the knowledge gap in tiger shark regional population structures, the geneticdiversity of 286 individuals sampled in seven localities was investigated using 27 microsatelliteloci and three mitochondrial genes (CR, COI, and cytb). A weak geneticdifferentiation was observed between the WIO and the WPO, suggesting high geneticconnectivity. This result agrees with previous studies and highlights the importanceof the pelagic behavior of this species to ensure gene flow. Using approximateBayesian computation to couple information from both nuclear and mitochondrialmarkers, evidence of a recent bottleneck in the Holocene (2,000–3,000 years ago)was found, which is the most probable cause for the low genetic diversity observed.A contemporary effective population size as low as 111 [43,369] was estimated duringthe bottleneck. Together, these results indicate low genetic diversity that mayreflect a vulnerable population sensitive to regional pressures. Conservation measuresare thus needed to protect a species that is classified as Near Threatened.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pirog A, Jaquemet S, Ravigné V, Cliff G, Clua E, Holmes BJ, Hussey NE, Nevill JEG, Temple AJ, Berggren P, Vigliola L, Magalon H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Issue: 10

Pages: 5551-5571

Print publication date: 29/05/2019

Online publication date: 04/05/2019

Acceptance date: 26/02/2019

Date deposited: 29/05/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2045-7758

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5111


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Funder referenceFunder name
MASMA/CP/2014/01Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)