Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Kristen M. Hart, Margaret E. Hunter, Timothy Lee King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a brackish-water turtle species whose populations have been fragmented due to anthropogenic activity such as development of coastal habitat and entrapment in commercial blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) fishing gear. Genetic analyses can improve conservation efforts for the long-term protection of the species. We used microsatellite DNA analysis to investigate levels of gene flow among and genetic variability within 21 geographically separate collections of the species distributed from Massachusetts to Texas. Quantified levels of genetic variability (allelic diversity, genotypic frequencies, and heterozygosity) revealed three zones of genetic discontinuity, resulting in four discrete populations: Northeast Atlantic, Coastal Mid-Atlantic, Florida and Texas/Louisiana. The average number of alleles and expected heterozygosity for the four genetic clusters were NA = 6.54 and HE = 0.050, respectively. However, the geographic boundaries of the populations did not correspond to accepted terrapin subspecies limits. Our results illuminate not only the need to sample terrapins in additional sites, specifically in the southeast, but also the necessity for allowing uninterrupted gene flow among population groupings to preserve current levels of genetic diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-603
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Genetics
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Fingerprint

Turtles
Emydidae
genetic variation
Brachyura
Gene Flow
Population
gene flow
heterozygosity
Callinectes sapidus
brackish water
turtles
fishing gear
anthropogenic activities
preserves
crabs
turtle
Microsatellite Repeats
subspecies
microsatellite repeats
Ecosystem

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

Cite this

Hart, Kristen M. ; Hunter, Margaret E. ; King, Timothy Lee. / Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). In: Conservation Genetics. 2014 ; Vol. 15, No. 3. pp. 593-603.
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Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). / Hart, Kristen M.; Hunter, Margaret E.; King, Timothy Lee.

In: Conservation Genetics, Vol. 15, No. 3, 01.01.2014, p. 593-603.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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