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Seascape genetics and fisheries science in three flatfishes


New publication form CeMEB member Filip Volckaert and collegues concludes that sustainable management of fish stocks has to consider species‐specific genetic structures.

Uncertainty hampers innovative mixedfisheries management by the scales at which connectivity dynamics are relevant to management objectives. The spatial scale of sustainable stock management is speciesspecific and depends on ecology, life history and population connectivity. One valuable approach to understand these spatial scales is to determine to what extent population genetic structure correlates with the oceanographic environment.

Here, we compare the level of genetic connectivity in three co-distributed and commercially exploited demersal flatfish species living in the North East Atlantic Ocean – turbot, brill and sole.

  • The population genetic structure of turbot was composed of three clusters and correlated with variation in the depth of the pycnocline, in addition to spatial factors.
  • The genetic structure of brill was homogenous, but correlated with average annual stratification and spatial factors.
  • In sole, the genetic structure was composed of three clusters, but was only linked to a temporal factor.

We explored whether the management of data poor commercial fisheries, such as in brill and turbot, might benefit from populationspecific information. We conclude that the management of fish stocks has to consider speciesspecific genetic structures and may benefit from the documentation of the genetic seascape and lifehistory traits.

Read the article: Reconciling seascape genetics and fisheries science in three codistributed flatfishes.

Authors: Vandamme S, Raeymaekers JAM,  Maes GE,  Cottenie K,  Calboli FCF, Diopere E, Volckaert FAM.

Published in Evolutionary Applications, September 2020.