Genetically determined population structure of hogfish (Labridae: Lachnolaimus maximus) in the southeastern United States


Seyoum, Seifu, Angela B. Collins, Cecilia Puchulutegui, Richard S. McBride, and Michael D. Tringali
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Hogfish (Labridae: Lachnolaimus maximus) is distributed across several biogeographic regions, but its stock structure has been poorly documented, confounding stock assessment and management of this reef fishery species. In this study the genetic structure of hogfish over a portion of its southeastern U.S. range was examined by using a suite of 24 microsatellite DNA loci. Fin clips from 719 specimens were obtained from geographic locations ranging from northwest Florida through North Carolina. Genomic proportions of hogfish were partitioned into 3 distinct genetic clusters, geographically delineated as 1) the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 2) the Florida Keys and the southeast coast of Florida, and 3) the Carolinas. Clusters 1 and 2 converged along the coastal area west of the Florida Everglades, but the location of the genetic break between clusters 2 and 3 requires further study because of a discontinuity in specimen collection between southeast Florida and the Carolinas. The geographically limited reproductive exchange in this species indicates that future stock assessments should incorporate regionally partitioned analyses of life history and fishery data.