Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Spencer Weinstein - University of Massachusetts Amherst
Microsatellites are short, repetitive, and inherited sequences of DNA that are randomly scattered throughout the genome. On either end of the microsatellite locus is a flanking sequence, which is used to design a forward and reverse primer for its amplification. These primers, and through them microsatellites, are a critical tool in looking at genetic connectivity in fish populations. This study developed microsatellite markers for blueline tilefish (Caulolatilus microps), a data poor species for which overfishing has recently become a major concern. Forty primers with ten or more perfect tetranucleotide repeats were designed and ordered, 27 of which were tested via a temperature gradient; ten of the primers worked through all stages of analysis.
These markers were then used to conduct a preliminary investigation of stock structure in blueline tilefish. Samples were collected from Virginia (n = 47), South Carolina (n = 26), and Mississippi (n = 15). Analyses showed no discernable genetic heterogeneity among samples from the three locations (maximum FST value = 0.011) based on the limited number of available samples; frequency distributions for each locus begin to suggest some allele frequency differences implying that, with more samples, genetic differences among locations might be found. More samples and markers must be analyzed before determining whether the blueline tilefish population is continuous along the United States East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Results from this continued study will be shared with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and used to inform management of blueline tilefish.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I thank Jan McDowell, Heidi Brightman, and the rest of the VIMS Fisheries Genetics Lab for their support and assistance. Thank you as well to everyone who collected and sent samples. Funding for this project was provided by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA. Thanks to Jenny Dreyer, Melissa Karp, and Rochelle Seitz for coordinating the REU program at VIMS. Program funding for the VIMS Research Experience for Undergraduates was made available through a grant awarded from the National Science Foundation (grant # NSF OCE 1062882)
Faculty Advisor: Jan McDowell,