Multiplex microsatellite PCR panels for the neotropical red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle: combining efforts towards a cost-effective and modifiable tool to better inform conservation and management

John Paul Kennedy, Hayley Craig, Antonella Jara-Cavieres, Agnessa Lundy, Richard F. Preziosi, Jennifer K. Rowntree

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Better-informed mangrove conservation and management practices are needed as the ecosystem services provided by these intertidal forests continue to be threatened by increasing anthropogenic pressures and climate change. Multiple layers of knowledge are required to achieve this goal, including insights into population genetics of mangrove species. Understanding the importance of population-genetic insights to conservation, multiple research groups have developed microsatellite loci for the widespread, neotropical red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle. However, although a wealth of genetic markers exist, empirical research is limited in the number of these loci employed. Here, we designed two multiplex PCR panels that combine seven novel loci developed for this work and eight previously-developed loci from three research groups to generate 15-locus genotypes, more than twice the average number of loci used in previous research, in only two PCR. We demonstrated utility in R. mangle from four sites across ~ 2500 km near this species’ northern latitudinal limits, and that these multiplex panels were better able to delineate populations than data subsets with numbers of loci comparable to previous research. We focus our discussion on how this tool is a more-informative, efficient (both in terms of time and resources), and easily-modifiable alternative to address many pressing conservation and management issues, such as the generation of baseline genetic data for areas not yet studied, better defining management units, and monitoring genetic effects of restoration projects. We also provide a quick protocol that outlines each step in this procedure to facilitate the use of this tool by others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Genetics Resources
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Coastal management
  • Mangroves
  • Microsatellites
  • Multiplex PCR
  • Population genetics
  • Rhizophora
  • UKRI
  • NERC
  • NE/L002469/1

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