Molecular ecology of two commercially important crustacean species, Nephrops norvegicus and Macrobrachium rosenbergii: Implications for the management of fisheries and aquaculture

Che Harun, Hasnita Binti (2013) Molecular ecology of two commercially important crustacean species, Nephrops norvegicus and Macrobrachium rosenbergii: Implications for the management of fisheries and aquaculture. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Molecular ecology is one of the most important branches of evolutionary biology, and it uses the advantages of molecular techniques such as PCR-RFLP, sequencing, microsatellite analysis, and most recently the introduction of next generation sequencing, to address outstanding issues in the fields of population genetics and phylogeny. The genomic approach has been influential in providing new information relevant to traditional questions in ecology, such as genetic differentiation, speciation, species adaptation and others. The rationale of the present thesis was to incorporate the advantages of both the PCR-RFLP and sequencing techniques to gain information on the genetic variability of two commercially-important crustacean species, namely the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus and the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii.
Nephrops norvegicus exhibits large morphological variability even between adjacent populations. The first objective of this thesis was to investigate the genetic variability of N. norvegicus from three localities, the Clyde Sea area and North Minch (North Sea) as well as Icelandic waters. The phylogeographic study found no significant differentiation between populations from the studied areas (FST: 0.01819). This finding is consistent with outcomes from previous studies that N. norvegicus populations were not geographically structured. Outcomes from the present study strongly suggest that environmental factors, rather than genetic factors, are more likely to play a more significant role in the high morphological differentiation observed in this species.
A study of the most important freshwater crustacean species, Macrobrachium rosenbergii was then undertaken as a contribution to understanding the most complex biogeography in the world, the Indo Australian Archipelago (IAA). The IAA has incredible species richness and endemism and is the location of 4 out of 25 world’s biodiversity hotspots, namely the Sundaland, the Philippines, Indonesia and Wallacea. Within the IAA is the location of Wallace’s line and Huxley’s line, the most abrupt faunal transition in the world that lies between the Sunda and Sahul shelves. The studied species used in the present thesis, M. rosenbergii is an ideal model species as it has a wide geographical distribution across the IAA.
The present phylogeographic study screened the COI segment using the sequencing technique to study M. rosenbergii populations collected from eight locations in Malaysia in the peninsular and east of Malaysia. These populations exhibited high genetic differentiation (FST: 0.62503) mainly due to the sample from Sabah. However, the adjacent population (Sarawak) was similar to that in Peninsular Malaysia, even though Northern Sarawak showed sub-population differentiation from the main cluster (cluster I) indicating that the genetic diversity of Northern Sarawak was more restricted. Beside, cluster II observed in the study indicated and confirmed the recent aquaculture activities of restocking the Kedah, Perak and Sarawak populations.
Knowledge of the levels of genetic differentiation in N. norvegicus and M. rosenbergii could assist in the management of the species. N. norvegicus could be managed as one stock and conservation and recovery programme could be carried out based on the knowledge that all studied populations exhibited lack genetic differentiation within and between populations. In contrast, M. rosenbergii that possessed high level of genetic differentiation have to be managed separately, especially for a unique population such as the one in Sabah. The outcomes of this study could also be useful for future research in the conservation of wild population, as well as aquaculture management and product improvement purposes.
The finding of Sabah as a unique population could potentially be useful for aquaculture improvement programmes. One of the most important aspects is to see whether Sabah population possessed high resistant to the disease infection. A preliminary study was conducted to investigate the susceptibility of a Malaysian wild population of M. rosenbergii to infection by the human food-poisoning bacterium V. parahaemolyticus. Nonetheless, the virulence stage of the bacterial strain, the status of the immune system of the host, the size and age of the experimental animals as well as the dose of injected bacteria might all have contributed to the inconclusiveness of the results. However, the principle of screening wild populations for disease resistance is sound, and may lead to improvements in the quality of the broodstock used in the Malaysian aquaculture industry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Nephrops norvegicus, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, PCR-RFLP, sequencing, molecular ecology
Subjects: S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Supervisor's Name: Neil, Profesor Douglas
Date of Award: 2013
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4101
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2013 09:07
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2013 09:10

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