The implementation of abalone aggregations as a tool for stock enhancement has been under discussion. For this purpose, understanding the self-recruitment capacity of managed reefs based on the amount of larval retention is an important task to evaluate potential success. Under the hypothesis that every reef is mostly self-restored within a short spatiotemporal scale because of a rather reduced planktonic period, the practice of aggregating mature adults of pink abalone in a reef would improve local recruitment. This study assessed local replenishment within an abalone reef of pink abalone Haliotis corrugata at Bahía Asunción (El Riíto reef), a location on the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, where an aggregation of adult abalone was studied. A parentage analysis was carried out between adults transplanted to El Riíto and the juveniles collected from the same site by comparing their genetic profiles at 8 microsatellite DNA loci. The parentage tests defined successfully the status of more than 97% of the juveniles, revealing that approximately 4% of them could have been produced within the aggregation area. Because not all the potential parental abalone were collected, this self-recruitment proportion in the aggregation experiment was possibly underestimated. The suitability of parentage analyses, based on genetic markers as a robust alternative for the assessment of future aggregations, is discussed.
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