Implications for management and conservation of the population genetic structure of the wedge clam Donax trunculus across two biogeographic boundaries

Marie, Amandine D.Lejeusne, Christophe ; Karapatsiou, EvgeniaCuesta, José A. Drake, Pilar ; Macpherson, EnriqueBernatchez, LouisRico, Ciro.   Scientific Reports 6 : 39152 (2016)  DIGITAL CSIC

In a resource management perspective, the understanding of the relative influence of the physical factors on species connectivity remains a major challenge and is also of great ecological and conservation biology interest. Despite the overfishing threat on the wedge clam Donax trunculus in Europe, relatively little information is known about its population genetic structure and connectivity and their consequences on conservation policies. We employed 16 microsatellite loci to characterise the genetic diversity and population structure of D. trunculus. A total of 514 samples from seven different localities along the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition, from the Atlantic (Gulf of Cádiz) to the north-western Mediterranean were genotyped. The analysis of the population genetic structure displayed a clear distinction along the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition with different clusters in the Atlantic Ocean, the Alboran Sea and the northwestern Mediterranean. Consequently, we recommend that these three areas should be considered as different management units. We showed that all populations seem to be at high long-term risk of extinction with the exception of the protected Doñana National Park population which still seems to have evolutionary potential. Therefore, our results emphasized the necessity of protection of this economic resource and the validity of molecular tools to evaluate the population dynamics.