Development of tools to assess genetic and age structuring of the Atlantic Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa)

As fisheries for the Atlantic Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) develop in Atlantic Canada, effective management will require a thorough understanding of the underlying genetic relationships within and between different populations to assess “genetic health.” Detecting genetic structure, such as differences in allelic frequencies and heterozygosity, is challenging in marine invertebrate species like C. frondosa due to having a highly dispersive and long larval stage, which results in high levels of gene flow between populations. Through the use of a Next-Generation Sequencing technology known as Restriction Site-Associated DNA Sequencing (RADseq), sufficient amounts of genetic data can be generated to detect significant levels of genetic structuring based on studies of other marine invertebrates. Applying this technique to C. frondosa will help better define subpopulations and allow more thorough assessments of population health and adaptability, both of which are necessary for effective fisheries management.

Intern: 
Matthew Penney
Faculty Supervisor: 
Donald Stewart
Province: 
Nova Scotia
University: 
Sector: 
Partner University: 
Discipline: 
Program: