Conservation Genetics Resources

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 689–693 | Cite as

Development of twenty-three novel microsatellite markers for the seagrass, Zostera muelleri from Australia

  • Craig D. H. Sherman
  • Annalise M. Stanley
  • Michael J. Keough
  • Michael G. Gardner
  • Peter I. Macreadie
Technical Note


Seagrasses are one of the most productive and economically important habitats in the coastal zone, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate, with more than half the world’s seagrass area lost since the 1990s. They now face serious threat from climate change, and there is much current speculation over whether they will survive the coming decades. The future of seagrasses depends on their ability to recover and adapt to environmental change—i.e. their ‘resilience’. Key to this, is understanding the role that genetic diversity plays in the resilience of this highly clonal group of species. To investigate population structure, genetic diversity, mating system (sexual versus asexual reproduction) and patterns of connectivity, we isolated and characterised 23 microsatellite loci using next generation sequencing for the Australian seagrass species, Zostera muelleri (syn. Z. capricorni), which is regarded as a globally significant congeneric species. Loci were tested for levels of variation based on eight individuals sampled from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. We detected high to moderate levels of genetic variation across most loci with a mean allelic richness of 3.64 and unbiased expected hetrozygosity of 0.562. We found no evidence for linkage disequilibrium between any loci and only three loci (ZosNSW25, ZosNSW2, and ZosNSW47) showed significant deviations from Hardy–Weinberg expectations. All individuals displayed a unique multi-locus genotype and the combined probability of identity across all loci was low (P ID  = 1.87 × 10−12) indicating a high level of power in detecting unique genotypes. These 23 markers will provide an important tool for future population genetic assessments in this important keystone species.


Seagrass Dispersal Genetic structure Mating system Gene flow Sexual Asexual Clonal Recruitment Life history Zostera capricorni 



We would like to thank A. Miller and A. Fitch for technical assistance. This work was support by funding provided by the Paddy Palin Foundation and Humane Society International to PM, and funding from the Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University to CS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig D. H. Sherman
    • 1
  • Annalise M. Stanley
    • 1
  • Michael J. Keough
    • 2
  • Michael G. Gardner
    • 3
    • 4
  • Peter I. Macreadie
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesCentre of Integrative Ecology, Deakin UniversityWaurn PondsAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.School of Earth and Environmental ScienceAustralian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.School of the EnvironmentUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia

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