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Article
Genetic Diversity of White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, in the Northwest Atlantic and Southern Africa
Journal of Heredity
  • Shannon J. O'Leary, State University of New York - Stony Brook
  • Kevin Feldheim, Field Museum of Chicago
  • Andrew T. Fields, State University of New York - Stony Brook
  • Lisa Natanson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Sabine Wintner, University of KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa
  • Nigel Hussey, University of Windsor - Canada
  • Mahmood S. Shivji, Nova Southeastern University
  • Demian D. Chapman, State University of New York - Stony Brook; Institute of Ocean Conservation Science
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
5-1-2015
Keywords
  • Bottleneck,
  • Effective population size Ne,
  • Inbreeding
Peer Reviewed
1
Abstract
The white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is both one of the largest apex predators in the world and among the most heavily protected marine fish. Population genetic diversity is in part shaped by recent demographic history and can thus provide information complementary to more traditional population assessments, which are difficult to obtain for white sharks and have at times been controversial. Here, we use the mitochondrial control region and 14 nuclear-encoded microsatellite loci to assess white shark genetic diversity in 2 regions: the Northwest Atlantic (NWA, N = 35) and southern Africa (SA, N = 131). We find that these 2 regions harbor genetically distinct white shark populations (Φ ST = 0.10, P< 0.00001; microsatellite F ST = 0.1057, P < 0.021). M-ratios were low and indicative of a genetic bottleneck in the NWA (M-ratio = 0.71, P < 0.004) but not SA (M-ratio = 0.85, P = 0.39). This is consistent with other evidence showing a steep population decline occurring in the mid to late 20th century in the NWA, whereas the SA population appears to have been relatively stable. Estimates of effective population size ranged from 22.6 to 66.3 (NWA) and 188 to 1998.3 (SA) and evidence of inbreeding was found (primarily in NWA). Overall, our findings indicate that white population dynamics within NWA and SA are determined more by intrinsic reproduction than immigration and there is genetic evidence of a population decline in the NWA, further justifying the strong domestic protective measures that have been taken for this species in this region. Our study also highlights how assessment of genetic diversity can complement other sources of information to better understand the status of threatened marine fish populations.
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©The American Genetic Association. 2015. All rights reserved.

ResearcherID
G-4080-2013
DOI
10.1093/jhered/esv001
Citation Information
Shannon J. O'Leary, Kevin Feldheim, Andrew T. Fields, Lisa Natanson, et al.. "Genetic Diversity of White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, in the Northwest Atlantic and Southern Africa" Journal of Heredity Vol. 106 Iss. 3 (2015) p. 258 - 265 ISSN: 0022-1503
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mahmood-shivji/52/