Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Genetics) by browse.metadata.advisor "D'Amato, M. E."
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- ItemPopulation genetic structure and demographical history of South African abalone, Haliotis midae, in a conservation context(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009-03) Van der Merwe, Aletta Elizabeth; Roodt-Wilding, R.; D'Amato, M. E.; Volckaert, F.; Bester, Aletta Elizabeth; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Genetics.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.