Isolation and characterization of 12 microsatellite loci to study connectivity in the yellow jawfish Opistognathus aurifrons
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are conservation strategies to preserve the degradation of marine ecosystems by allowing species to naturally recover. Central to MPA design is the assumption of connectivity in marine populations over hundreds of kilometers, but only in a few handful of species the scale of connectivity has been estimated. To facilitate the study of connectivity of reef fishes, we newly developed 12 microsatellite loci for the yellow jawfish Opistognathus aurifrons. We tested all microsatellite loci in eight Caribbean populations with various degrees of divergence. We found between 9 and 26 alleles per locus with polymorphism that ranged from 0.652 to 0.976. All loci were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, except loci 1588 and 7983. The described markers provide the most sensitive tools yet available to study connectivity at the finest spatial scale and evaluate if current networks of Caribbean MPAs maximize the potential for the recovery of reef fish populations.
KeywordsPyrosequencing Marine Protected Areas Coral reef Conservation Caribbean
Funds came from the Puerto Rico Sea Grant, the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, and the College of Arts and Sciences-UPRM. We thank M. Hellberg at LSU for facilitating the genotyping of all samples. We thank Duane Sanabria, Anibal Santiago, Milton Carlo, and “Godito” for field assistance.