Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1301–1311 | Cite as

MtDNA population structure and gene flow in lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus): limited connectivity despite long-lived pelagic larvae

  • Peter B. MarkoEmail author
  • Laura Rogers-Bennett
  • Alice B. Dennis
Research Article


Lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus Girard, have a 3-month pelagic larval stage and are an important recreational and commercial species on the west coast of North America. Cytochrome-c oxidase I sequences from tissue samples were used to characterize population structure and infer patterns of gene flow from California to Alaska. No significant genetic structure was found when estimates of Wright’s FST (i.e., ΦST) were generated among all populations sampled. Nesting populations within regions, however, indicated that the inner coast of Washington State is distinct, a result corroborating previous allozyme work. Coalescent-based estimates of gene flow indicate that although migration can be high from an evolutionary perspective, nearly half of all comparisons among populations showed no gene flow in at least one direction. From an ecological perspective, moderate migration rates (Nm < 10) among most populations provide surprisingly limited connectivity at large (∼ 1,000 km) and small (∼100 km) spatial scales. Coalescent-based estimates also show that gene flow between the inner and the outer coasts is asymmetric, a result consistent with prevailing surface currents. Because the expected inter-locus variances for coalescent-based estimates of gene flow are likely large, future work will benefit from analyses of nuclear DNA markers. However, limited demographic connectivity on large spatial scales may help explain why stock recovery has been uneven, with greater recovery in the northern (87% rebuilt) than in the southern (24% rebuilt) fishery region, supporting a regional management strategy. These results suggest that despite a 3-month pelagic larval stage, some areas may be effectively closed with respect to both population dynamics and fishery management issues.


Gene Flow Larval Dispersal Female Migrant Spawn Stock Biomass Contemporary Gene Flow 
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 the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Eric Larson, and Patty Wolf for their support. Sport Fish Restoration Funds (Fund F-50-R-13 Project 18, Job 6.) from the CDFG, the University of North Carolina and the Friday Harbor Laboratories (University of Washington) helped fund this study. We thank port samplers in California, Washington and Alaska for tissue samples and Brian Allen and Brenda Erwin for coordinating the sampling in California. This is contribution Number 2312 Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis and a contribution of Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter B. Marko
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Laura Rogers-Bennett
    • 2
  • Alice B. Dennis
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.California Department of Fish and GameUniversity of CaliforniaBodega BayUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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