Journal Article

Spring-spawning herring (<i>Clupea harengus</i> L.) in the southwestern Baltic Sea: do they form genetically distinct spawning waves?

Hanne B. Hede Jørgensen, Michael Møller Hansen and Volker Loeschcke

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 6, pages 1065-1075
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus L.) in the southwestern Baltic Sea: do they form genetically distinct spawning waves?

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Temporal sampling within the spring-spawning season has revealed differentiation in length-at-age in herring at Rügen and differentiation in, e.g., Anisakis infestation rate, otolith microstructure, and gillraker counts in Gdańsk Bay, leading to the expectation that spawning waves consist of distinct herring populations. We tested this expectation by analysing genetic variation at nine microsatellite loci in samples collected at different times during the March to May spawning season in 2 consecutive years, 2002 and 2003. Length-at-age, mean length, and age distributions were compared among samples within locations but did not show consistent temporal patterns. Pairwise genetic differentiation among temporal samples within season was low and non-significant in the Gdańsk Bay (0 < FST < 0.0025) but higher among Rügen samples (0.0008 < FST < 0.0113). Samples from Rügen collected in 2002 differed significantly from each other, and individual assignment tests showed increased divergence with time. Differentiation was not confounded by effects of age class or sex. We conclude that spawning waves are not genetically differentiated among Gdańsk samples based on factors analysed in this study, whereas genetically distinct but sympatric spawning populations may be found at Rügen.

Keywords: Clupea harengus L.; growth rate; individual assignment; microsatellite DNA; spatio-temporal variation; spawning waves

Journal Article.  7048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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