Fisheries Genetics

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    Slide 1  Top to bottom: creole fish (Paranthias furcifer), hybrid creole fish X coney, coney (Cephalopholis fulva)  Photo by Jan Cordes
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    Slide 2  Blue marlin (Makaira nigricans):Off the coast of Venezuela  Photo by Ken Neill
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    Slide 3  Roundscale spearfish (Tetrapturus georgii): Off the coast of Virginia  Photo by Ken Neill
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    Slide 4  Black marlin (Istiompax indica): Off the Pacific coast of Panama  Photo by Julian Pepperell
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    Slide 5  Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus): Off Isla Mujeres, Mexico  Photo by John Graves
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    Slide 6  Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacores): Off the coast of Venezuela  Photo by Ken Neill
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    Slide 7  Baby Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus): Off the coast of Virginia  Photo by Ken Neill
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Recent advances in molecular genetics have produced exciting new techniques that can be applied to long-standing problems in fisheries science. The Fisheries Genetics Program bridges the gap between molecular biology and fisheries science, using  molecular techniques to investigate a wide variety of fisheries-related subjects. Foremost among these are studies of the population genetic structure or stock composition of commercially and/or recreationally important fisheries. The program also uses molecular techniques to determine the evolutionary histories (phylogenies) of marine organisms, and to identify eggs, larvae, and fishery products that cannot be identified using morphological characters (forensic studies).

Current Studies:
  • Development of a suite of high-throughput molecular markers for genetic monitoring, genetic tagging and population genetics of bluefin tuna. 
  • Use of mitochondrial control region sequences and nuclear microsattelite loci to evaluate population structuring in white marlin.
  • Development of a suite of high-throughput molecular markers to evaluate population structure and evolutionary relationships of the striped marlin and white marlin.  
  • Use of mitochondrial control region sequences and nuclear microsattelite loci to evaluate population structuring of the spotted sea trout. 
  • Molecular genetic analysis of tautog population structure. 
Previous Studies (by species or family):

 

  • Stock structure: Blue marlin, white marlin, black marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, chub mackerel, escolar, marlin sucker (a remora), bluefish, weakfish, menhaden, mako shark, sandbar shark, sharpnose shark, Portuguese dogfish, spiny dogfish, leafscale gulper shark, cownose ray, mummichog, rapa whelk, bay scallop, calico scallop, loggerhead turtle
  • Phylogeny Billfishes (family Istiophoridae), mackerels (genus Scomber), remoras (family Echeneidae), snake mackerels and cutlass fishes (families Gempylidae and Trichiuridae), and  coleoid cephalopods,
  • Forensics (species/population identification/discrimination):  Billfishes, Atlantic and Indo-Pacific blue marlin, Atlantic scombrinds (tunas, mackerels, etc.),  recreational fishes of Chesapeake Bay,  hybrids of the coney and creole fish in Bermuda