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Mitochondrial DNA Haplotype Diversity in Two Portunid Populations Found Along the Georgia and South Carolina Coasts

Amy Abdulovic-Cui1, Sierra Mannix1, Austin Coleman1, Brittany White1, Keturah Mingledolph1, and Jessica M. Reichmuth1,*

1Department of Biological Sciences, Augusta University, Augusta, GA 30904. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 20, Issue 2 (2021): 367–376

Habitat loss, overfishing, and decline in abundance and quality of natural resources continue to threaten marine ecosystems. A common tool used to measure health and diversity within a system is genetic diversity. The purpose of this study was to determine the genetic diversity of 2 crustacean populations by sequencing the 16S rRNA mitochondrial loci. We collected Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) and Arenaeus cribrarius (Speckled Swimming Crab) using seines and standard crab pots from 2 study sites along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. We extracted DNA from leg or claw tissue and used previously published primers to sequence the 16S rRNA loci of the mitochondria and record the number of mutations found from individual crabs. A total of 177 crabs (Blue Crab: n = 129; Speckled Swimming Crab: n = 48) were sequenced. Overall, the Blue Crab showed more genetic diversity relative to the Speckled Swimming Crab, but this result may due to sample size. Knowledge of the genetic diversity of an economically important species has implications for management.

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