Marine Biology

, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 325–336 | Cite as

Phylogeography of the Southwestern Atlantic menhaden genus Brevoortia (Clupeidae, Alosinae)

  • Graciela GarcíaEmail author
  • Julia Vergara
  • Verónica Gutiérrez
Original Paper


Among pelagic fish, the Southwestern Atlantic menhaden genus Brevoortia (Clupeidae, Alosinae) constitutes an important species model to investigate the patterns of genetic differentiation. It is abundant in the Río de la Plata estuary and in the Atlantic coastal lagoons system from Uruguay and Southern Brazil. To access in the taxa discrimination and population structure in Brevoortia we perform a phylogeographic approach based on mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt-b) sequences including 240 individuals from 16 collecting sites. Among the 720 bp cyt-b sequenced, 199 correspond to variables and 88 to phylogenetically informative sites. High values of haplotype diversity (h = 1.000) and nucleotide diversity (π = 0.061), as well as an average of 0.084 polymorphic segregating sites and 46 different haplotypes were found. Maximum likelihood analysis based on the GTR + I + G model and Bayesian inference strongly support the idea that B. aurea is the only species of the genus inhabiting the Southwestern Atlantic region. Our analyses revealed a complex population pattern characterized by the existence of long-term highly structured genetic assemblages of mixed stocks. Each monophyletic entity included individuals from different collecting sites, different age groups and collected in different years. Our data also suggest that the recruitment of unrelated mtDNA haplotypes carried out by individuals within schools could be occurring in the same nursery areas revealing the existence of many different maternal lineages. A scenario where different simultaneously and successively mixed mtDNA lineages remain historically connected through basal haplotypes among different clades could explains more accurately the complex and ordered metapopulation dynamic found in this pelagic fish.


Coastal Lagoon Pelagic Fish Estuarine Environment Nursery Area Purse Seine 
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 following people: J. M. Díaz de Astarloa for kindly donated individuals of B. aurea from Mar Chiquita lagoon (Argentina), and particularly to the fishermans Freddy Seija, German, Richard and Teresa Acosta from Rocha and Castillos lagoons (Uruguay) respectively, for kindly provided specimens of this species. We are grateful to G. Martínez, S. Retta to kindly supplied additional menhaden samples from 1999 to 2000 as well as to provided a morphological identification of adults and juveniles specimens in research collaboration with M. Azpelicueta. This manuscript is enriched by the comments of three anonymous reviewers. This research received financial support from the Project PDT 07-12-DINACYT-BID. The authors are also grateful to the Japanese government for the equipment donation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graciela García
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julia Vergara
    • 1
  • Verónica Gutiérrez
    • 1
  1. 1.Sección Genética Evolutiva, Facultad de CienciasUdelaRMontevideoUruguay

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