International Journal of Salt Lake Research

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 303–321 | Cite as

Are assemblages of black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) in different estuaries genetically distinct?

  • J.A. Chaplin
  • G.A. Baudains
  • H.S. Gill
  • R. Mcculloch
  • I.C. Potter


Samples of the estuarine-spawning teleost Acanthopagrus butcheri were collected from nine estuaries and a coastal lake, located in the Pilbara and South-western drainage divisions of Western Australia and distributed along a coastline covering a distance of nearly 2,000 km. The patterns of allozyme variation in these samples were used to explore the extent to which there was variation in the genetic compositions of black bream assemblages in geographically-isolated estuarine systems, and whether or not any such variation could be related to the geographical location or type of estuary. Although only three of 36 scorable loci (Gpi-1, Ldh and Mdh-2) exhibited variation that could be used for analysis, there was considerable variation in allele frequencies at these loci among the different samples (mean FST = 0.166). Much of the detected variation was attributable to differences between the samples collected from the two drainage divisions, which are located in very different climatic regions. Furthermore, the genetic compositions of samples from neighbouring estuaries were typically more similar to each other than to those of samples collected from more distantly-located systems. However, the assemblages in one west coast and two south coast estuaries, that are closed to the ocean for extensive periods of time during the year, all showed very similar genetic compositions. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognise that, pairwise comparisons of samples collected from the different estuaries, both within and between the two drainage divisions, almost invariably showed statistically significant differences in allele frequencies at one or more loci. Thus, our results indicate that the local populations of black bream in individual estuaries are genetically distinct, which is probably a consequence of both a limited movement by individuals between estuaries and the effects of differences in regional and local environmental conditions.

Acanthopagrus butcheri allozyme dispersal estuaries population structure teleost 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.A. Chaplin
    • 1
  • G.A. Baudains
    • 1
  • H.S. Gill
    • 1
  • R. Mcculloch
    • 1
  • I.C. Potter
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological and Environmental SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochWestern Australia

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