Spatial patterns, landscape genetics and post virus recovery of blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra (Leach), in the western commercial fishing zone of Victoria

Ierodiaconou, D., Miller, A. D., Rattray, A., Weeks, A. R., Gorfine H. K., Peeters, H., Van Rooyen, A., Jalali, M. A., Bell, J. D. and Worthington, D. 2014, Spatial patterns, landscape genetics and post virus recovery of blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra (Leach), in the western commercial fishing zone of Victoria, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Warrnambool, Vic..

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Title Spatial patterns, landscape genetics and post virus recovery of blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra (Leach), in the western commercial fishing zone of Victoria
Author(s) Ierodiaconou, D.ORCID iD for Ierodiaconou, D.
Miller, A. D.ORCID iD for Miller, A. D.
Rattray, A.ORCID iD for Rattray, A.
Weeks, A. R.
Gorfine H. K.
Peeters, H.
Van Rooyen, A.
Jalali, M. A.
Bell, J. D.
Worthington, D.
Publication date 2014-04
Series FRDC Project No. 2011/033
Total pages 68
Publisher Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
Place of publication Warrnambool, Vic.
Keyword(s) Haliotis rubra
genetic stock structure
fishery footprint modelling
hotspot analysis
recruitment patterns
Summary Historically, collecting nearshore habitat information has been problematic. Existing methods, such as aerial and satellite image interpretation are limited due to the attenuation of light in the water column obscuring the seabed structure. The advent of airborne bathymetric LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems (laser scanning of the seabed) now provides high-resolution seabed ‘images’ in areas that were previously difficult to survey. LiDAR imagery is available for the entire coastline of Victoria, Australia to depths of around 25 m, after being initially collected for climate change modelling by the Future Coasts Program ( This dataset has provided the opportunity to test its applicability to inform fisheries management. Detailed geophysical information combined with spatially explicit AbTrack GPS located fisheries records and targeted genetic sampling is used in this study to provide a better understanding of the extent of available fishing grounds, direction of fishing effort and stock population structure within the Victorian western zone abalone fishery.
The species distribution modelling technique MaxEnt was used to produce a potential habitat suitability map for abalone in an attempt to capture the effective footprint of the  fishery. Also, by interrogating the spatially defined effort localities, we demonstrate an approach that may be used to identify areas where fishing effort is concentrated, and how this parameter changes temporally.
Despite barriers to adult dispersal (soft sediment barriers between reef patches), the genetic study indicates that larval movement is able to homogenize the gene pool over  large geographic distances. The western, central and eastern zone abalone stocks in Victoria were found to be a single large panmictic unit. This indicates high levels of stock connectivity and no obvious impacts of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) on the genetic health of western zone stocks. We used detailed seafloor structure information interpreted from LiDAR to inform a replicated hierarchical fine scale genetic sampling design. We demonstrated that there may be extensive migration among abalone stocks across the Victorian abalone fishery.
This is contrary to previous studies that suggest recruitment is highly localised. In combination, these findings provide a valuable insight into the biology of H. rubra and immediate benefits for fisheries management. We discuss these results in the context of predicting resilience and adaptive potential of H. rubra stocks to environmental pressures and the spread of heritable diseases.
Adoption pathways are also provided to benefit future stock augmentation activities to catalyse the recovery of AVG affected reef codes. As larval dispersal is likely to be spatially and temporally variable, some AVG affected stocks are likely to recover through natural recruitment, while others will benefit from augmentation activities to ‘kick-start’ stock recovery. Evidence of neutral genetic homogeneity across Victorian reef codes suggests that the relocation of animals is unlikely to have significant genetic risks; however the potential for locally adaptive genetic differences may exist, and should be taken into consideration in future stock augmentation planning.
When combined, the spatial and genetic analyses provide valuable insights into stock productivity within the western zone fishery. Reefs appear to be expansive and support much available habitat, and the movement of larvae among reef structures is likely to be extensive in this region. Consequently, we propose that colonisation success and productivity is likely to be driven by ecological factors such as resources and/or competition, or physical factors such as wave exposure.
ISBN 1741561841
Language eng
Field of Research 070403 Fisheries Management
Socio Economic Objective 830203 Wild Caught Edible Molluscs
HERDC Research category A6 Research report/technical paper
Grant ID FRDC 2011-033
Copyright notice ©2014, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
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Created: Wed, 23 Jul 2014, 12:13:51 EST by Daniel Ierodiaconou

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