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|Presentation Title||Population genetic structure of Channeled Whelk: Implications for management in the mid-Atlantic|
|Presenting Author Name||Sam Askin|
|Presenting Author Affiliation||Virginia Institute of Marine Science|
|Unit Meeting||Tidewater Chapter|
|General Topic||populations genetics, shellfishery|
|Type of Presentation||Oral|
Population genetic structure of Channeled Whelk: Implications for management in the mid-Atlantic
Channeled whelk, Busycotypus canaliculatus, (Linnaeus, 1758) are a commercially important gastropod found throughout the United States Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Channeled whelk exhibit direct development, slow growth, and late maturation; making them vulnerable to overexploitation. The resource is managed at the state level in the mid-Atlantic region and minimum landing size (MLS) varies by state. In 2018, Massachusetts performed the first stock assessment for channeled whelk. This assessment concluded that channeled whelk populations in Nantucket Sound are likely overfished and overfishing is occurring. Currently, the population genetic structure of channeled whelk is unknown. This study aimed to determine the level of genetic differentiation of 239 channeled whelk collected in 10 resource areas from Massachusetts to South Carolina, with fine-scaled sampling in the mid-Atlantic region. A total of 5,328 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was used to estimate genetic diversity and delineate population structure among resource areas along the Atlantic coast. A preliminary analysis of the data revealed estimates of genetic divergence ranging from 0.002 – 0.432, with the largest FST values observed between Massachusetts and South Carolina and the smallest values observed between Light Tower and Eastern Shore. FST values were highest (0.106 – 0.432) when comparing North Carolina Pamilco Sound, North Carolina Wilmingtton, and South Carolina to all other resource areas, with elevated levels of genetic divergence across known biogeographic barriers. These preliminary findings underscore the need for new management strategies for the channeled whelk fishery in resource areas along the Atlantic coast.