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Genetic connectivity and characterization of fat snook (Centropomus parallelus) in the south and southeast estuary regions: A combined approach to support the impact assessments of this target species for commercial and artisanal fisheries.

Abstract

The use of marine biological resources has overtime been a source of food and wealth generation for different countries around the world. Among the many taxa that inhabit the oceans, fish have been the main target of artisanal, sports and industrial fishing. The family Centropomidae (order Perciformes), the genus Centropomus Lacépède (1802), comprise 12 species regarded as taxonomically valid. The species Centropomus parallelus - fat snook - is the one whose occurrence is associated with bays and estuary regions. Published data on the reproductive cycle and population genetic structure of C. parallelus are scarce. However, this species has become increasingly popular and economically important for artisanal and sport fishing due to its sportiness when hooked and the quality of its meat. In the light of this, the present proposal aims at developing and using molecular markers for genetic assessment of fat snook populations sampled along a latitudinal gradient of estuaries located along the Brazilian Southeast and South coastal regions to test a hypothesis of genetic structuring of estuarine-resident populations. To achieve this, three molecular markers will be used: microsatellite for contemporary assessments of the genetic variability distribution, partial sequencing of the mitochondrial D-loop to estimate past genetic connectivity between putative populations to understand the possible biogeographic dispersal history of this species, and SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) to evaluate possible selection signatures associated with local adaptations. Microsatellites will be developed to be species-specific using Next Generation Sequencing technology and the individuals evaluated by semiautomatic genotyping. SNPs will be obtained by the GBS (Genotyping by Sequence) technique also using NGS. The present proposal engages a multidisciplinary time from different institutions to generate scientifically based information that can help to shed light on the genetic variation of fat snook populations as to their conservation, sustainability and existence for future generations. (AU)