Population genetic structure of the brown tiger prawn, Penaeus esculentus, in tropical northern Australia
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Eight polymorphic microsatellite loci were analysed in six population samples from four locations of the Australian endemic brown tiger prawn, Penaeus esculentus. Tests of Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium were generally in accord with expectations, with only one locus, in two samples, showing significant deviations. Three samples were taken in different years from the Exmouth Gulf. These showed no significant heterogeneity, and it was concluded that they were from a single panmictic population. A sample from Shark Bay, also on the west coast of Australia, showed barely detectable differentiation from Exmouth Gulf (FST = 0 to 0.0014). A northeast sample from the Gulf of Carpentaria showed low (FST = 0.008) but significant differentiation from Moreton Bay, on the east coast. However, Exmouth Gulf/Shark Bay samples were well differentiated from the Gulf of Carpentaria/Moreton Bay (FST = 0.047–0.063). The data do not fit a simple isolation by distance model. It is postulated that the east–west differentiation largely reflects the isolation of east and west coast populations that occurred at the last glacial maximum when there was a land bridge between north-eastern Australia and New Guinea.