New paper: New information to help study connectivity in seagrass.

Microsatellite primer development for the seagrass Zostera nigricaulis (Zosteraceae).  Timothy M. Smith • Paul H. York • Annalise M. Stanley • Peter I. Macreadie • Michael J. Keough • D. Jeff Ross • Craig D. H. Sherman.  Conservation Genetics Resources 5: 607-10.

Abstract Seagrasses are marine angiosperms with a worldwide distribution that form conspicuous beds in nearshore
habitats. Despite being universally recognised as a foundation species that performs a number of important
ecosystems functions (incl. sediment stabilisation, facilitation of biodiversity, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration),
global seagrass habitats are in decline. Resilience—the ability to recover from disturbance without switching to an
alternative state—is paramount to the maintenance and persistence of seagrass habitats. Genetic diversity is a key
component of seagrass resilience and contributes to an understanding of population structure, connectivity between
populations, and reproductive strategies. Microsatellite primers were developed to investigate the resilience of the
seagrass Zostera nigricaulis, which dominates subtidal habitats in the bays of south-eastern Australia.We also tested
for cross-amplification of markers between Z. nigricaulis and previously developed markers for the sympatric species Z. muelleri to assess their applicability for use in assessing patterns of genetic diversity, population structure, and mating system. Using next-generation sequencing we isolated 11 novel microsatellite loci for Z. nigricaulis, 8 of which were polymorphic for the samples tested. Allelic diversity ranged from 1 to 8. None of the primer pairs developed for Z. nigricaulis cross-amplified in Z. muelleri; but 14 of 24 primer pairs previously developed for Z. muelleri amplified clearly in Z. nigricaulis samples with six of these showing polymorphism. The results demonstrate the applicability of the Z. nigricaulis microsatellite primers for use in the study of population genetics and limited cross-amplification with Z. muelleri.

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