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Genetic structure of whiting Merlangius merlangus in the northeast Atlantic and adjacent waters

Abstract : Accurate identification of stock boundaries is essential for efficient fisheries management; hence, the present study focused on the genetic structure of whiting. To this aim, 488 individuals collected from the southern Bay of Biscay to the southern Norwegian coast were genotyped using 7 microsatellites. A low level of genetic structuring was detected in Atlantic waters; only the Bay of Biscay differentiated from more northern samples. The lack of genetic structure along the western margin of the British Isles is consistent with a high level of passive transport of pelagic eggs and larvae due to the combined influence of the North Atlantic Current and the Shelf Edge Current. High levels of dispersal could also occur between the western British Isles and the North Sea through both the branching of the North Atlantic Current into the northern North Sea and the residual current flowing from the English Channel to the Southern Bight. In contrast, a significant genetic structure was identified within the North Sea, and this may be associated with the complex oceanography of this basin and retention systems reducing larval dispersal. In addition, considering also genetic, phenotypic and tag-recapture data collected on whiting, a learned homing behaviour of adults toward spawning areas may be hypothesised.
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Grégory Charrier, Steeve Coombs, Ian Mcquinn, Jean Laroche. Genetic structure of whiting Merlangius merlangus in the northeast Atlantic and adjacent waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter Research, 2007, 330, pp.201-211. ⟨10.3354/meps330201⟩. ⟨hal-00663484⟩

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