In order to investigate the larval population structure, specimens of Engraulis encrasicolus larvae from five different locations in the Strait of Sicily were analyzed by means of otolith readings, morphometric and genetic techniques. The distribution of age in day, identified by means of the otolith readings and associated with the oceanographic parameters, was useful to identify possible spawning areas and transport dynamics. The presence of more than one spawning area suggested the possibility that two or more sub-populations may co-exist in the study area. The morphometric characteristics were more adequate than genetic parameters to discriminate the different larval groups. The most relevant variables for the separation were the mouth length (ML) and the body diameter (BD). The population structure by means of genetic data reported the presence of two phylogroups co-occurring among samples in each sampling locations specimens. The pattern of genetic divergence among anchovy larvae in the Strait of Sicily was congruent with previous studies conducted on adult populations present in other Mediterranean areas with different molecular markers. The habitat-specific nature of the morphological variation and the lack of corresponding genetic variation among larvae from the different locations suggested that the observed differences in morphology could be linked to environmental parameters. The body form differences among different larvae samples could reflect the nutritional status of larvae. In fact, these differences were found among anchovy larvae collected in areas with different oxygen and fluorescence, which is an index of primary productivity and is linked to the availability of food for anchovy larvae.
|Titolo:||Larval population structure of Engraulis encrasicolus in the Strait of Sicily as revealed by morphometric and genetic analyses.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|