Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 915–924 | Cite as

Genetic structure of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) populations on the Patagonian Shelf and Atlantic and western Indian Ocean Sectors of the Southern Ocean

  • A. D. Rogers
  • S. Morley
  • E. Fitzcharles
  • K. Jarvis
  • M. Belchier
Research Article


The genetic structure of Patagonian toothfish populations in the Atlantic and western Indian Ocean Sectors of the Southern Ocean (SO) were analysed using partial sequences of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene and seven microsatellite loci. Both haplotype frequency data (F ST>0.906, P<0.01) and microsatellite genotype frequency data (F ST=0.0141–0.0338, P<0.05) indicated that populations of toothfish from around the Falkland Islands were genetically distinct from those at South Georgia (eastern Atlantic Sector SO), around Bouvet Island (western Atlantic Sector SO) and the Ob Seamount (western Indian Ocean Sector of the SO). Genetic differentiation between these populations is thought to result from hydrographic isolation, as the sites are separated by two, full-depth, ocean-fronts and topographic isolation, as samples are separated by deep water. The South Georgia, Bouvet and Ob Seamount samples were characterised by an identical haplotype. However, microsatellite genotype frequencies showed genetic differentiation between South Georgia samples and those obtained from around Bouvet Island and nearby seamounts (F ST=0.0037, P<0.05). These areas are separated by large geographic distance and water in excess of 3,000 m deep, below the distributional range of toothfish (<2,200 m). No significant genetic differentiation was detected between samples around Bouvet Island and the Ob Seamount although comparisons may have been influenced by low sample size. These localities are linked by topographic features, including both ridges and seamounts, that may act as oceanic “stepping stones” for migration between these populations. As for other species of deep-sea fish, Patagonian toothfish populations are genetically structured at the regional and sub-regional scales.


Genetic Differentiation Southern Ocean Antarctic Circumpolar Current Significant Genetic Differentiation Atlantic Sector 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr Eduardo Balguerías for sampling and provision of toothfish samples from Speiss, Meteor and Ob Seamounts and Bouvet Island. Dr Paul Brickle provided toothfish samples from the Falklands Islands whilst samples from the Shag Rocks/South Georgia regions were provided by scientific observers working on commercial longline vessels and from a survey conducted by the FRV “Dorada”. Simon Morley was funded by the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), through the South Georgia Project. Kester Jarvis received an Undergraduate Research Bursary (Ref: URB/01449/G) from the Nuffield Foundation for a summer internship at British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge. We also acknowledge Dr Michael Meredith for comments on the oceanographic discussion in the paper, Dr Tony North and Dr Martin Collins for comments on toothfish biology, and Prof. Paul Rodhouse and Prof Christopher Rapley for provision of facilities at British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. D. Rogers
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Morley
    • 1
  • E. Fitzcharles
    • 1
  • K. Jarvis
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. Belchier
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Institute of ZoologyZoological Society of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of GeneticsQueen’s Medical Centre, University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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