Deep mitochondrial lineage divergence among populations of the southern stingray (Hypanus americanus (Hildebrand & Schroeder, 1928)) throughout the Southeastern United States and Caribbean
Although over half of all known elasmobranchs are batoids, with many species exploited and several of conservation concern, little is known of their population genetic structure and micro-evolutionary history. Here, we used sequence variation in 648 bp of the mitochondrial control region to study the phylogeography of the southern stingray (Hypanus americanus (Hildebrand & Schroeder, 1928)) (previously Dasyatis americana) throughout the Carolinas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Out of 267 individuals sampled from eight locations, 67 haplotypes were identified and analysis of molecular variance revealed a high level of genetic partitioning (ΦST = 0.49; P < 0.00001) that was delineated into three geographic regions: (i) the USA and Belize, (ii) the Bahamas and the West Indies, and (iii) Grand Cayman Islands. Phylogenetic and statistical parsimony analyses identified three divergent lineages that were largely concordant with the population structure. However, the geographic distribution of haplotypes described a complex phylogeographic pattern with numerous haplotypes from the divergent lineages co-occurring at the same sampling site. The strong genetic partitioning detected for the Grand Cayman population suggests that this small and isolated population might warrant individualized conservation management.
KeywordsBatoid Elasmobranch Population structure Conservation Control region
We thank Dan Abel, Demian Chapman, Mark Corcoran, Brian DeAngelis, Jim Gelsleichter, Samuel Gruber, Alan Henningsen, Matt Potenski, Brad Wetherbee, and Tonya Wiley for collecting the samples and Steve Kish, Veronica Akle, Beth Babcock, Kevin Feldheim, Marcy Henning, Stephen Harrison, Scott Pikitch, Burr Heneman, and the staff of the WCS research facility at Glovers Reef, Belize, for the assistance in the field and laboratory. We thank Joseph Ryan for providing computation resources for portions of the analyses.
This research was supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, NOAA Coastal Ocean Program, Nova Southeastern University National Coral Reef Institute, and the Pew Institute for Ocean Science.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.
Sampling and field studies
All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies were obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.
- Avise JC (2000) Phylogeography: the history and formation of species. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 3–37Google Scholar
- Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc Ser B Methodol 57:289–300Google Scholar
- Castillo-Páez A, Sosa-Nishizaki O, Sandoval-Castillo J, Galván-Magaña F, Rocha-Olivares A (2014) Strong population structure and shallow mitochondrial phylogeny in the banded guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata (Jordan y Gilbert, 1880), from the northern Mexican Pacific. J Hered 105:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Griffiths AM, Sims DW, Cotterell SP, El Nagar A, Ellis JR, Lynghammar A, McHugh M, Neat FC, Pade NG, Queiroz N (2010) Molecular markers reveal spatially segregated cryptic species in a critically endangered fish, the common skate (Dipturus batis). Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 277:1497–1503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hildebrand SF, Schroeder WC (1928) Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Bulletin of the United States Bureau of Fisheries, 43(1):1–366Google Scholar
- Kearse M, Moir R, Wilson A, Stones-Havas S, Cheung M, Sturrock S, Buxton S, Cooper A, Markowitz S, Duran C, Thierer T, Ashton B, Meintjes P, Drummond A (2012) Geneious Basic: an integrated and extendable desktop software platform for the organization and analysis of sequence data. Bioinformatics 28:1647–1649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Snelson FF Jr, Williams-Hooper SE, Schmid TH (1988) Reproduction and ecology of the Atlantic stingray, Dasyatis sabina, in Florida coastal lagoons. Copeia 1988:729–739Google Scholar
- Stehmann M, McEachran J, Vergara R (1978) Dasyatidae. In: Fischer W (ed) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes Western Central Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
- Struhsaker P (1969) Observations on the biology and distribution of the thorny stingray, Dasyatis centroura (Pisces: Dasyatidae). Bull Mar Sci 19:456–481Google Scholar
- Templeton AR (2006) Population genetics and microevolutionary theory. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, pp 204–245Google Scholar
- Vaudo JJ, Wetherbee BM, Harvey GCM, Harvey JC, Prebble AJF, Corcoran MJ, Potenski MD, Bruni KA, Leaf RT, Henningsen AD, Collie JS, Shivji MS (2018) Characterisation and monitoring of one of the world’s most valuable ecotourism animals, the southern stingray at Stingray City, Grand Cayman. Mar Freshw Res 69:144–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar