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 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.


Geneotypic and Morphological Variation between Galaxiella nigrostriata (Galaxiidae) Populations: Implications for Conservation

David Galeotti, Mark Castalanelli, David Groth, Clint McCullough, Mark Lund

Abstract

Galaxiella nigrostriata is a freshwater fish that is endemic to the seasonally dry coastal wetlands of south-west Australia and considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Lower Risk/Near Threatened. This small fish (maximum SL <50 mm) aestivates in the sediment over the long-dry Mediterranean summer and its dispersal is limited by lack of habitat connectivity. The objective of this study was to identify the historical and contemporary genetic connectivity between populations of G. nigrostriata and to assess morphological variation between these populations. Results showed that all populations were genetically divergent and no mtDNA haplotypes were shared between populations. In contrast, morphological differentiation between individual populations was weak; however, pooling populations into two broad regions (Swan Coastal Plain and southern coast) resulted in clear morphological differentiation between these two groups. Based on these results, we postulate G. nigrostriata distribution last expanded in the early Pleistocene approximately 5.1 Ma and have since been restricted to remanent wetlands within the immediate area. G. nigrostriata populations at the northern end of their range are small and are the most vulnerable to extinction. Conservation efforts are therefore required to ensure the survival of these genetically and morphologically distinctive Swan Coastal Plain populations.

MF13289  Accepted 07 May 2014
 
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