Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Joseph Quattro

Abstract

The black sea bass, Centropristis striata, is a member of the family Serranidae that is commercially important throughout its range, which extends throughout the western Atlantic (from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Cape Canaveral, Florida) and Gulf of Mexico (from Mobile Bay, Alabama to Tampa Bay, Florida). There are two known subspecies, C. striata striata in the Atlantic and C. striata melana in the Gulf, and through behavioral and morphological evidence two separate stocks are managed in the Atlantic, north and south of Cape Hatteras, NC. Recent genetic studies on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have supported this. To further investigate the relationships of C. striata in the Atlantic (as well as the Gulf), more individuals were analyzed looking at mtDNA as well as nuclear DNA (nDNA) to determine differentiation between them, as well as if any migration was occurring. DNA from specimens was extracted, amplified, and sequenced in order to compare results, which were run through Arlequin v3.5, SPADE, and Beerli's Migrate. The results for mtDNA confirmed a noticeable separation between C. striata in the Atlantic and Gulf, and a smaller but still significant difference between C. striata north and south of Cape Hatteras in the Atlantic. nDNA showed smaller differences between regions, which supports male-mediated gene flow occurring for this species. Migration was shown to be low but still occurring between different regions indicating that there is still some connection occurring but likely not nearly enough to warrant a change in stock management.

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