Connectivity and population structure of albacore tuna across southeast Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans inferred from multidisciplinary methodology
This week we discuss a paper on connectivity and structure in albacore tuna inferred from morphometrics, genetics and modelling particle drift modelling.
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Link to paper:
Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) is an important target of tuna fisheries in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The commercial catch of albacore is the highest globally among all temperate tuna species, contributing around 6% in weight to global tuna catches over the last decade. The accurate assessment and management of this heavily exploited resource requires a robust understanding of the species’ biology and of the pattern of connectivity among oceanic regions, yet Indian Ocean albacore population dynamics remain poorly understood and its level of connectivity with the Atlantic Ocean population is uncertain. We analysed morphometrics and genetics of albacore (n = 1,874) in the southwest Indian (SWIO) and southeast Atlantic (SEAO) Oceans to investigate the connectivity and population structure. Furthermore, we examined the species’ dispersal potential by modelling particle drift through major oceanographic features. Males appear larger than females, except in South African waters, yet the length–weight relationship only showed significant male–female difference in one region (east of Madagascar and Reunion waters). The present study produced a genetic differentiation between the southeast Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans, supporting their demographic independence. The particle drift models suggested dispersal potential of early life stages from SWIO to SEAO and adult or sub-adult migration from SEAO to SWIO.