Caraccio M. N., A. Formia, M. Hernandez, A. Fallabrino and M. Bruford. (In press). Preliminary Mixed Stock Analysis of Juvenile Green Turtles in Uruguay using Mitochondrial Dna Sequences. Proceedings of the 23° International Symposiumon Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. U.S. Dep. Commer. NOAA Tech. Mem (2003).
PRELIMINARY MIXED STOCK ANALYSIS OF JUVENILE GREEN TURTLESIN URUGUAY USING MITOCHONDRIAL DNA SEQUENCES
Maria Noel Caraccio
, Angela Formia
, Martin Hernandez
and Michael W Bruford
1C.I.D., Proyecto Karumbé, Tortugas Marinas del Uruguay , J. Paullier 1198, Montevideo, Uruguay,firstname.lastname@example.orgSchool of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3TL, United Kingdom3Sección Genética Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias. Iguá 4225, Montevideo, Uruguay
The green turtle,
, similarly to other sea turtle species, has a life cycle that is hard tostudy directly due to the difficulty of tracking migratory movement among feeding and nestingareas, and to the long maturation times. After reaching the sea, the hatchlings are not seen againuntil they enter neritic foraging grounds as juveniles. These areas often contain mixed stocks(individuals belonging to more than one nesting population) and are located many kilometers awayfrom the nesting grounds. Studies carried out in nesting areas indicate that adult females return tonest at their natal beach. Most of the knowledge concerning sea turtle distribution is obtained fromtagging experiments. While nesting females are easily accessible on the beach, feeding groundsrequire greater efforts, including catching individuals at sea with tangle nets. For some years,Karumbé Project has been monitoring the feeding grounds of juvenile green turtles along theUruguayan coast, and performing activities such as capturing and tagging turtles through netting,and locating strandings or incidental fishery catches. Recently, tissue sampling has been carried outin order to determine the genetic characteristics of green turtles inhabiting Uruguayan waters. Thecontrol region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a molecular tag commonly used inphylogeographic studies of this species in the Atlantic, contributing to reveal their molecularevolution, population structure, reproductive behavior and migratory patterns (Bowen et al. 1992,Allard et al. 1994, Lahanas et al. 1994, Encalada et al. 1996, Lahanas et al. 1998). MitochondrialDNA evidence can also be used to define management units for conservation (Moritz 1994). In thiswork we present the preliminary results of analysis carried out in the Biodiversity andEnvironmental Process Research Group at Cardiff University (UK) using the control region of mtDNA of juvenile green turtles found along the Uruguayan coast.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Tissue samples from twenty juvenile green turtles were collected from stranded individuals, fromturtles that were captured by netting efforts, and from turtles incidentally caught by artisanalfisheries. The size of the turtles ranged between 32 and 52cm of curved carapace length notch to tip(CCLn-t) (Bolten 1999). The samples were preserved in absolute ethanol. Extraction of the mtDNAwas perfomed using a modification of the protocol by Allen et al. (1998). A fragment of 486 bpfrom the control region was amplified with the primers HDCM1 and LDCM1 (Allard et al. 1994),and HDCM1.1 and LDCM1.1 for degraded DNA (Formia 2002). PCR products were visualised on1.5% agarose gels and were later sequenced using automated sequencing protocols with anABI3100 Sequencer. The sequences obtained were aligned using SEQUENCHER software (GeneCodes Corporation) and analysed using ARLEQUIN (Schneider et al. 2000). Also, mixed stock analyses were carried out with BAYES (Pella & Masuda 2001), to estimate the proportion of nesting populations that contributed to our juvenile stock.