Marine Biology

, 164:123 | Cite as

Comparing genetic connectivity among Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) inhabiting Puget Sound and coastal Washington

Original paper


Understanding connectivity of marine organisms is necessary for determining the appropriate scale of conservation and management strategies. For species that inhabit both the coastal ocean and partially enclosed water bodies (i.e., estuaries or fjords), this information is even more critical since estuaries and fjords are often characterized by hydrological complexities which can limit dispersal potential and promote population subdivision. In this study, genetic connectivity of Dungeness crab Cancer magister in Puget Sound and coastal Washington, USA, was examined to test the hypothesis of genetic structure in partially enclosed versus open environments. Dungeness crab that were sampled at five sites in Puget Sound in 2015 and three sites in coastal Washington in 2014 were genotyped at ten microsatellite loci. We observed similar levels of heterozygosity and allelic richness within Puget Sound and coastal Washington. Pairwise F ST estimates indicated that Hood Canal was significantly differentiated from other Puget Sound sites, except Nisqually, suggesting larval retention within the Hood Canal basin. No evidence for significant genetic differentiation was found among the four remaining Puget Sound sites or among the three coastal sites. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that, in aggregate, Puget Sound sites significantly differed from coastal sites. On a site by site basis, we found evidence for significant differentiation between three sites in Puget Sound and coastal Washington. Based upon the observed patterns of genetic differentiation, our findings did not support our hypothesis of restricted genetic connectivity within Puget Sound, with the exception of Hood Canal. However, our results demonstrate that there is stronger genetic connectivity within Puget Sound and coastal Washington than between these two areas.


Genetic Population Structure Southern Basin Genetic Connectivity Factorial Correspondence Analysis Dungeness Crab 
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.



This report was prepared by Oregon Sea Grant under grant number NA14OAR4170064 (CFDA No. 11.417) (Project Number R/RCF-33) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program, US Department of Commerce, and by appropriations made by the Oregon State Legislature. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funders. This research was also funded by the Hatfield Marine Science Center Bill Wick Marine Fisheries Award. We thank the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington commercial Dungeness crab fishing fleet, and the Suquamish, Swinomish, and Nisqually Tribes for their cooperation and assistance in sampling of Dungeness crab. We would also like to thank Dr. David Armstrong (Marine Biology, University of Washington) for his comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

All animals were sampled in accordance with Oregon State University and national ethical standards. Permission for sampling was granted through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the Suquamish, Swinomish, and Nisqually Tribes.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest pertaining to this study, and consent was given by Tyler M. Jackson, Kathleen G. O’Malley, and those who assisted with sampling.

Supplementary material

227_2017_3152_MOESM1_ESM.docx (126 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 125 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  2. 2.Westward Region, Divison of Commercial FisheriesAlaska Department of Fish and GameKodiakUSA

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