Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 17, Issue 2–3, pp 223–235 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of isolated populations of Nautilus pompilius (Mollusca, Cephalopoda) in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea

  • Billy Sinclair
  • Leica Briskey
  • William Aspden
  • Graham Pegg
Original Paper


Nautilus species are the only remaining cephalopods with an external shell. Targeted heavily by the shell trade across their distribution area, these species have a poorly known population structure and genetics. Molecular techniques have been used to assess levels of inter- and intra-population genetic diversity in isolated populations of Nautilus in the northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia and in the Coral Sea. Distinct populations, physically separated by depths in excess of 1,000 m were examined. RAPD analysis of genetic differences showed limited differentiation of the “Northern GBR” populations and the “Coral Sea” populations. Discrimination between the two geographic groups was observed from these data. In addition, partial sequencing of the CoxI gene region, yielded 575 bp of sequence, which was aligned for 43 samples and phylogenetic trees constructed to examine genetic relationships. Two distinct clades were resolved in the resulting trees, representing the “Northern GBR” and “Coral Sea” population groups. Inter- and intra-population relationships are presented and discussed. The differentiation of the Nautilus populations from the Northern section of the Great Barrier Reef and those from the Coral Sea were supported by two distinctly different methodologies and the significance of this separation and the potential evolutionary divergence of these two population groups is discussed.


Nautilus coxI DNA sequence Great Barrier Reef RAPDs Population genetics 



The authors would like to acknowledge the funding for this project, provided by a CQU Seed grant. We are indebted to the biologists and crew of Undersea Explorer—in particular Andy, Jules, Karl and Mick for their help in obtaining and recording all the tissue samples used in this study. We are indebted to our colleagues Drs Christine McPhie, Neil McRoberts and Larelle Fabbro and to three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Billy Sinclair
    • 1
  • Leica Briskey
    • 1
  • William Aspden
    • 1
  • Graham Pegg
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Molecular Genetics GroupCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia

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