[Coral-List] The battle for biodiversity

Martin Moe martin_moe at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 30 09:25:26 EST 2010

John, Thanks for the clarification on the variability of genetic structure, I'm 
sure the actual situation is far more complex in time and distance than we 
realize, but given the longevity of the larval phase of P. argus, and the 
patterns of water currents in the broad area, I think it is reasonable to 
assume, with your caveat well considered, that the likelihood of reproductively 
separate populations of P. argus is not great. But whatever the actual case may 
be, when it comes to exploitation, perception, even engineered perception, 
becomes reality, and often such perception becomes the basis for regulation. Too 
often regulation that would offer functional reproductive protection for a 
species (to say nothing of the need for ecological protection) is not enacted 
because the burden of proof that such regulation is needed can not be met to the 
satisfaction of the fishing industries. And the response after the profits have 
been made and the resource is in trouble, is "Gee, I guess we were wrong. 
Shucks, now we have to go after a less profitable species." Of course we can't 
paint all fishing efforts with the same brush, but it seems to happen all too 

On another marine species larval distribution note, I have Diadema larvae now at 
day 69 that are finally showing signs of readiness for settlement. 


From: "Bruno, John F" <jbruno at unc.edu>
To: "<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Mon, November 29, 2010 9:22:50 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] The battle for biodiversity

A case in point is the spiny lobster fishery of Florida. It has been shown
through analysis of mitochondrial DNA (Silberman, et. al., 1994) that, as
expected, genetic analysis shows no evidence of genetic structure in the spiny
lobster (P. argus) population, which is consistent with a high gene flow
throughout the population. This also indicates that the population of spiny
lobsters in Florida is dependent on larval influx from Caribbean sources.

Martin, thank you for that really interesting post, especially your insights on 
the response of lobster fishers to NOAAs catch shares plan.  Not to suggest that 
I know anything about lobster population genetics, but the lack of genetic 
structure within a population (or among populations) doesn't necessarily mean 
strong demographic connectivity and that result certainly doesn't indicate that 
"the population of spiny lobsters in Florida is dependent on larval influx from 
Caribbean sources".  For one, a relatively small degree of migration between 
subpopulations can be enough to genetically homogenize them without creating 
much if any demographic connectivity.  Even if there were effective demographic 
connectivity between Florida and Caribbean populations, that would not 
necessarily mean the Florida populations were a sink and wholly dependent on 
larval subsidies.


John Bruno
Associate Professor
UNC Chapel Hill

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