Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 6, pp 1183–1192 | Cite as

Microsatellite DNA markers and morphometrics reveal a complex population structure in a merobenthic octopus species (Octopus maorum) in south-east Australia and New Zealand

  • Zoë Anne DoubledayEmail author
  • Jayson M. Semmens
  • Adam J. Smolenski
  • Paul W. Shaw
Original Paper


Five polymorphic microsatellite loci were developed and then used to assess the population genetic structure of a commercially harvested merobenthic octopus species (Octopus maorum) in south-east Australian and New Zealand (NZ) waters. Beak and stylet morphometrics were also used to assess population differentiation in conjunction with the genetic data. Genetic variation across all loci and all sampled populations was very high (mean number alleles = 15, mean expected heterozygosity = 0.85). Microsatellites revealed significant genetic structuring (overall FST = 0.024, p < 0.001), which did not fit an isolation-by-distance model of population differentiation. Divergence was observed between Australian and NZ populations, between South Australia and north-east Tasmania, and between two relatively proximate Tasmanian sites. South Australian and southern Tasmanian populations were genetically homogeneous, indicating a level of connectivity on a scale of 1,500 km. Morphometric data also indicated significant differences between Australian and NZ populations. The patterns of population structuring identified can be explained largely in relation to regional oceanographic features.


Genetic Homogeneity South Australia Rock Lobster Significant Genetic Structure East Australian Current 
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 J. Ricketts, N. Perryman, W. Beven, W. Combe, D. Palmer, Moana Pacific Fisheries, South Pacific Fisheries, Burkhart Fisheries, and Austar Fisheries for the collection of octopuses in Tasmania, NZ and SA, and M. Oliver (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, NIWA) and D. Sykes (NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council) for overseeing the collection and storage of octopuses in NZ. We also thank Ben Smethurst for all his assistance with the DNA extractions. This study was supported by Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, Department of Primary Industries and Water (Tasmania), Winifred Violet Scott Estate grant, and Unitas Malacologica.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoë Anne Doubleday
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jayson M. Semmens
    • 1
  • Adam J. Smolenski
    • 2
  • Paul W. Shaw
    • 3
  1. 1.Marine Research Laboratories, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries InstituteUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Central Science LaboratoryUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesRoyal Holloway University of LondonEghamUK

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