The understanding of genetic connectivity among populations is important for the management of fisheries, particularly in overexploited benthic species such as the pink abalone Haliotis corrugata, which might have limited dispersal because of a short-term pelagic larval stage. Eight microsatellite DNA loci (Hco15, Hco16, Hco19, Hco22, Hco47, Hco97, Hco194, and Hka56) from specimens caught at five locations from the northeastern Pacific of Mexico and the United States were examined. H. corrugata showed a low to moderate genetic diversity. Most loci from the five sampling sites were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, except for Hco47, which showed null alleles. Hierarchical AMOVA from seven loci showed highly significant population divergence between San Clemente Island and the Mexican locations (FST = 0.021, P < 0.001) but not among Mexican subpopulations. The prevailing explanation for such divergence is the historical isolation by distance, but the presence of an oceanographic barrier (Southern California Eddy) and the insufficient mix between waters masses from both regions could preserve genetic differentiation.
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Vol. 28 • No. 3