Marine Biology

, Volume 155, Issue 6, pp 613–621 | Cite as

Temporal analysis of population genetic composition in the overexploited Japanese eel Anguilla japonica

  • Yu-San HanEmail author
  • Yu-Liang Sun
  • Yi-Fen Liao
  • I-Chiu Liao
  • Kang-Ning Shen
  • Wann-Nian TzengEmail author
Original Paper


The Japanese eel has dramatically declined in Asia since the 1970s. Over the past two decades, glass eel productivity in Taiwan has decreased, but is highly variable among each year catch, though the cause for this is unknown. The impact of both population decline and instability on genetic diversity, however, is unknown. In this study, we investigated changes in allele frequencies of Japanese eel recruitment events over the past 20 years using six polymorphic microsatellite DNA loci. Specimens of glass eels were collected yearly from a single location in northern Taiwan from 1986 to 2007. Overall genetic differentiation among all samples was very low but significant (FST = 0.002, P = 0.002), and only 2 out of 120 pairwise tests were significant. The relationship between genetic and temporal distance showed a slight but insignificant correlation (R2 = 0.03, P = 0.0504). There were no overall significant differences in allelic richness (P = 0.35) or genetic heterozygosity (P = 0.73) among annual recruitment events. No apparent loss of genetic diversity and occurrence of a genetic bottleneck for eel populations were observed. Estimates of the effective population size (Ne) generally exceeded 500, although confidence intervals were very wide. While El Niño /Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events had little impact on genetic diversity, they may account for the annual fluctuation in glass eel catch. These results indicate long-term stability of genetic diversity in the Japanese eel with little evidence for sweepstakes recruitment.


Genetic Differentiation Effective Population Size Allelic Richness North Equatorial Current Recruitment Event 
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.



The authors express their gratitude to Ms. H.Y. Teng, Drs. C.W. Chang and Y.T. Wang for collecting specimens from Taiwan. Research fundings were provided by the National Science Council of the Executive Yuan, Taiwan (NSC 95-2313-B-002-070, NSC 95-2313-B-002-119 and NSC 97-2621-B-002-011). Experiments were complied with the current laws of the Taiwan, ROC.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Fisheries Science, College of Life ScienceNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Aquaculture, College of Life and Resource SciencesNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan

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