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Article

Genetic Diversity of Stellate Sturgeon in the Lower Danube River: The Impact of Habitat Contraction upon a Critically Endangered Population

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Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, 820112 Tulcea, Romania
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Doctoral School of Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, 050095 Bucharest, Romania
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Genetic Improvement Laboratory, Research Station for Cattle Breeding Dancu, 707252 Iași, Romania
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Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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Department of Systems Ecology and Sustainability, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, 050095 Bucharest, Romania
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eleonora Ciccotti
Water 2021, 13(8), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081115
Received: 14 March 2021 / Revised: 11 April 2021 / Accepted: 16 April 2021 / Published: 18 April 2021
One of the last wild populations of the critically endangered stellate sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus) survives in the Danube River. Limited knowledge about the genetic structure, ecology, and evolution of this species led to poor and inconsistent management decisions with an increased risk for species extinction in the wild. Here we show the results of genetic structure screening of the Danube River wild population over 12 years timespan. Our research does not bring evidence of population recovery. No genetic structuring was identified at the mitochondrial level concerning spawning migration timing, sampling locations, and developmental stages. Eleven maternal lineages were revealed based on restriction fragment lengths analysis of the D-loop region, with one haplotype as the most frequent. While this could be the result of a massive restocking activity using a reduced number of spawners, our data does not support it. The selection of mitochondrial haplotypes under the pressure of habitat contraction and the narrower range of temperature variation since dams’ construction on the river could explain the observed distribution. Several factors of managerial concern are discussed. Our results provide baseline data on the mtDNA diversity in a critically endangered species of exceptionally high socioeconomic and conservation interest. View Full-Text
Keywords: species conservation; wildlife; habitat contraction; anadromous sturgeons; haplotypes; damming; endangered species species conservation; wildlife; habitat contraction; anadromous sturgeons; haplotypes; damming; endangered species
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MDPI and ACS Style

Holostenco, D.N.; Ciorpac, M.; Taflan, E.; Tošić, K.; Paraschiv, M.; Iani, M.; Honț, Ș.; Suciu, R.; Rîșnoveanu, G. Genetic Diversity of Stellate Sturgeon in the Lower Danube River: The Impact of Habitat Contraction upon a Critically Endangered Population. Water 2021, 13, 1115. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081115

AMA Style

Holostenco DN, Ciorpac M, Taflan E, Tošić K, Paraschiv M, Iani M, Honț Ș, Suciu R, Rîșnoveanu G. Genetic Diversity of Stellate Sturgeon in the Lower Danube River: The Impact of Habitat Contraction upon a Critically Endangered Population. Water. 2021; 13(8):1115. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081115

Chicago/Turabian Style

Holostenco, Daniela N., Mitică Ciorpac, Elena Taflan, Katarina Tošić, Marian Paraschiv, Marian Iani, Ștefan Honț, Radu Suciu, and Geta Rîșnoveanu. 2021. "Genetic Diversity of Stellate Sturgeon in the Lower Danube River: The Impact of Habitat Contraction upon a Critically Endangered Population" Water 13, no. 8: 1115. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081115

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