Identification of larval sea basses (Centropristis spp.) using ribosomal DNA-specific molecular assays

Vandersea, M., W.; Litaker, R.W.; Marancik, K., E.; Hare, J., A.; Walsh, H., J.; Lem, S.; West, M., A.; Wyanski, D., M.; Labani, E., H.; Tester, P., A.

Fishery Bulletin (Seattle) 106(2): 183-193


ISSN/ISBN: 0090-0656
Accession: 022798731

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The identification of sea bass (Centropristis) larvae to species is difficult because of similar morphological characters, spawning times, and overlapping species ranges. Black sea bass (Centropristis striata) is an important fishery species and is currently considered to be overfished south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. We describe methods for identifying three species of sea bass larvae using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assays based on species-specific amplification of rDNA internal transcribed spacer regions. The assays were tested against DNA of ten other co-occurring reef fish species to ensure the assay's specificity. Centropristis larvae were collected on three cruises during cross-shelf transects and were used to validate the assays. Seventy-six Centropristis larvae were assayed and 69 (91%) were identified successfully. DNA was not amplified from 5% of the larvae and identification was inconclusive for 3% of the larvae. These assays can be used to identify sea bass eggs and larvae and will help to assess spawning locations, spawning times, and larval dispersal. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.