Winter flounder larval genetic population structure in Narragansett Bay, RI: Recruitment to juvenile young-of-the-year

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The genetic population structure of winter flounder larvae was examined in Narragansett Bay, RI. Winter flounder larvae collected from 20 stations within Narragansett Bay and one station outside of the Bay were analyzed for six microsatellite loci. When analyzed by geographic collection sites, there were 16 distinct genetic populations of winter flounder larvae (RST values from 0.1 to 0.6). The presence of distinct genetic populations was supported by assignment of individual larvae to populations by Bayesian analysis. Bayesian analysis resulted in 14 distinct genetic populations that overlapped with the geographically distributed populations (RST values from 0.1 to 0.6). Young-of-the-year juveniles collected in the same year as the larvae were also analyzed at the same six microsatellite loci. Juveniles were assigned to larvae populations by both a Bayesian approach and a neural network approach. Juveniles collected from within Narragansett Bay were found to arise from geographically adjacent Narragansett Bay winter flounder larval populations (>99%), suggesting no widespread movement of juveniles away from spawning grounds. These results are discussed in the context of winter flounder population biology in Narragansett Bay, RI. © 2008 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

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Estuaries and Coasts