Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 521–528 | Cite as

Genetic population structure of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) off Morocco detected with intron polymorphism (EPIC-PCR)

  • T.  AtarhouchEmail author
  • M. Rami
  • M.  Naciri
  • A.  Dakkak
Research Article


The upwelling systems along the coast of Morocco support some of the largest populations of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) in the world. Although these populations provide a base for a substantial fishing industry, virtually nothing is known about the genetic stock structure of this fish. Samples (n = 346), collected from seven sites along the Atlantic coast and in the Alboran Sea, were examined for exon-primed intron-crossing PCR (EPIC-PCR) polymorphism. Two markers, CaM-4 and Ops-1, had 6 and 9 alleles, respectively, after the pooling of gel fragments into 5 bp length classes, Correspondence analysis and the distribution of Fst among samples indicated that Moroccan populations were divided into two groups with Fst = 0.034 (< 0.05) across the Gibraltar Strait. Populations along the Atlantic coast of Morocco comprise one genetic unit, except for a weak genetic boundary south of Cape Ghir and the peculiar behavior of the Safi sample would indicate a genetic drift. Complex ocean hydrodynamics around Gibraltar Strait and across Cape Ghir, likely, contributes to these genetic isolations. These results point out the usefulness of population genetic studies in stock management for sardine populations that may be particularly vulnerable to overexploitation especially during upwelling intensity shifts.


Neighbour Join Length Class Genetic Break Stock Structure Sardina Pilchardus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank M. Sabounji for providing Larache and Nador samples, P. Berrebi (Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Lagunaires, Université Montpellier 2), S. Kifani (Département des Ressources Halieutiques, Institut National de Recherche Halieutique), R. Zardoya (Departemento de Biodiversidad y Biologia Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciensas Naturales, Madrid) and the anonymous referees for their insightful commentaries and R. Houssa (Laboratoire de Cartographie, INRH) for the map design. These experiments comply with the current laws of Morocco.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • T.  Atarhouch
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Rami
    • 2
  • M.  Naciri
    • 3
  • A.  Dakkak
    • 2
  1. 1.Département des Ressources HalieutiquesInstitut National de Recherche HalieutiqueCasablancaMorocco
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire, Département de Parasitologie et Maladies ParasitairesInstitut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan IIRabatMorocco
  3. 3.Département de Biologie, Faculté des SciencesUniversité Mohamed VRabatMorocco

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