Population genetic structure and demographical history of South African abalone, Haliotis midae, in a conservation context

Van der Merwe, Aletta Elizabeth (2009-03)

Thesis (PhD (Genetics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South African abalone, Haliotis midae, has been the subject of major concern regarding its survival and conservation over the last decade or more. Being the only one of five endemic species with commercial value, there is considerable interest and urgency in genetic management and improvement of this species. Limited genetic information and the increasing conservation concern of this species are considered the key motivations for generating information on the micro- and macro-evolutionary processes of H. midae, the overall objective of this study. This study reported the first microsatellite and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers developed specifically for Haliotis midae. Both these marker types were applied to elucidate the degree of gene flow in nine natural abalone populations whilst testing for two contrasting hypotheses; panmixia versus restricted gene flow. Data was analysed using a series of methodological approaches ranging from traditional summary statistics to more advanced MCMC based Bayesian clustering methods with and without including spatial information. Using only microsatellite data, the historical demography of the species was also examined in terms of effective population size and population size fluctuations. Finally, the evolutionary positioning and origin of Haliotis midae with regards to other Haliotis species was investigated based on mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Both microsatellite and SNP data gave evidence for subtle differentiation between West and East coast populations that correlates with a hydrogeographic barrier in the vicinity of Cape Agulhas. Population substructure was supported by AMOVA, FCA and Bayesian clustering analysis. Clustering utilizing spatial information further indicated clinal variation on both sides of the proposed barrier with a region in the middle coinciding with a secondary contact zone, indicating possible historical isolation during glacial periods. Overall, the similar degree of substructure observed with both microsatellites and SNPs supported the existence of contemporary and/or historical factors with genome-wide effect on gene flow. The population expansion measured with the microsatellites was inconsistent with the known recent decline but taking the species’ life cycle and large effective population size into account, a shrinkage in population size will probably only be apparent in a few generations time. On a macro-evolutionary scale, this study presents the first classification of South African abalone as a monophyletic group within the Haliotidae family. The topology based on the combined mitochondrial and nuclear dataset is highly suggestive of a relatively recent radiation of the SA species from the Indo-Pacific basin. The study concludes by describing the most likely factors that could have affected overall population structure and makes suggestions on how the given genetic information should be incorporated into strategies aimed towards the effective management and conservation of Haliotis midae.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse perlemoen, Haliotis midae, is oor die laaste dekade of meer die onderwerp van groot bekommernis betreffende die spesie se oorlewing en bewaring. Aangesien dit die enigste van vyf endemiese SA spesies is met kommersiёle waarde, is daar besonderse belang en erns in die genetiese beheer en verbetering van die spesie. Beperkte genetiese inligting en ‘n toenemende behoefte om die spesie te bewaar is die hoof motivering agter die generering van informasie rakende mikro- en makro-evolusionêre prosesse in Haliotis midae en is die oorhoofse doel van hierdie studie. Hierdie studie beskryf die eerste mikrosatelliete en enkel basispaar polimorfismes wat ontwikkel is spesifiek vir Haliotis midae. Beide tipe merkers is aangewend om die mate van gene vloei in nege wilde perlemoen populasies te ondersoek terwyl twee hipoteses ondersoek is; panmiksie versus beperkte gene vloei. Data is geanaliseer deur gebruik te maak van ‘n reeks metodieke benaderings wat wissel van tradisionele opsommings statistieke tot meer gevorderde MCMC gebasseerde groeperings metodes met of sonder die gebruik van geografiese data. Mikrosatelliet data is ook aangewend om die historiese demografie van die spesie te bepaal in terme van effektiewe populasie grootte asook veranderinge in populasie groottes. Laastens is die evolusionêre posisionering en oorsprong van Haliotis midae teenoor ander Haliotis spesies ondersoek deur gebruik te maak van mitokondriale en nukleêre DNA volgorde data. Beide mikrosatelliet en enkel basispaar polimorfisme data lewer bewys van ‘n subtiele genetiese verskil tussen wes en ooskus populasies wat verband hou met ‘n hidrografiese skeiding in die omgewing van Kaap Agulhas. Populasie struktuur is ondersteun deur die analise van molekulêre variansie (AMOVA), faktoriale komponente analise asook Bayesiese groeperings analise. Groeperings analise wat geografiese informasie insluit dui klinale genetiese variasie aan beide kante van die skeiding aan met ‘n area in die middel wat ooreenstem met ‘n sekondêre kontak gebied. In totaal, ondersteun die soortgelyke mate van struktuur verkry met beide die mikrosatelliete en enkel basispaar polimorfismes die bestaan van hedendaagse en/of historiese faktore met genoom wye invloed op gene vloei. Die toename in populasie grootte vasgestel deur die mikrosatelliet data stem nie ooreen met die onlangse afname waargeneem in die spesie nie, maar met inagneming van Haliotis midae se lewenssiklus en groot effektiewe populasie grootte, sal die afname in populasie grootte moontlik eers oor ‘n paar generasies na vore kom. Op ‘n makro-evolusionêre skaal lewer hierdie studie die eerste klassifikasie van Suid-Afrikaanse perlemoen as ‘n monofiletiese groep binne die Haliotidae familie. Die topologie gebaseer op ‘n gesamentlike mitkondriale en nukleêre datastel is hoogs aanduidend van ‘n relatiewe onlangse verspreiding van die Suid-Afrikaanse spesies uit die Stille-Indiese Oseaan. Die studie sluit af deur die mees algemene faktore te bespreek wat populasie struktuur kon beïnvloed het en maak voorstelle op watter wyse hierdie genetiese inligting aangewend kan word vir die effekiewe beheer en bewaring van Haliotis midae.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/3974
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