Molecular Identification of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus, Scombridae) Larvae and Development of a DNA Character-Based Identification Key for Mediterranean Scombrids
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AuthorsPuncher, G.N. (Gregory Neils); Arrizabalaga, H. (Haritz); Alemany, F. (Francisco); Cariani, A. (Alessia); Oray, I.K. (Isik K.); Karakulak, F.S. (F. Saadet); Basilone, G. (Gualtiero); Cuttitta, A. (Angela); Mazzola, S. (Salvatore); Tinti, F. (Fausto)
The Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is a commercially important species that has been severely over-exploited in the recent past. Although the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stock is now showing signs of recovery, its current status remains very uncertain and as a consequence their recovery is dependent upon severe management informed by rigorous scientific research. Monitoring of early life history stages can inform decision makers about the health of the species based upon recruitment and survival rates. Misidentification of fish larvae and eggs can lead to inaccurate estimates of stock biomass and productivity which can trigger demands for increased quotas and unsound management conclusions. Herein we used a molecular approach employing mitochondrial and nuclear genes (CO1 and ITS1, respectively) to identify larvae (n = 188) collected from three spawning areas in the Mediterranean Sea by different institutions working with a regional fisheries management organization. ...
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