University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Conservation genetics of the scalloped hammerhead shark in the Pacific coast of Colombia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 17:05 authored by Quintanilla, S, Gomez, A, Marino-Ramirez, C, Sorzano, C, Bessudo, S, German Soler AlarconGerman Soler Alarcon, Bernal, JE, Caballero, S
Previous investigations of the population genetics of the scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in the Eastern Tropical Pacific have lacked information about nursery areas. Such areas are key to promoting conservation initiatives that can protect young sharks from threats such as overfishing. Here, we investigated the genetic diversity, phylogeography, and connectivity of S. lewini found in 3 areas of Colombia's Pacific coast: around Malpelo Island and in 2 National Natural Parks on the Colombian Pacific mainland (Sanquianga and Ensenada de Utría). We analyzed mtDNA control region (CR) sequences and genotyped 15 microsatellite loci in 137 samples of adults and juveniles. The mtDNA analyses showed haplotypes shared between the Colombian Pacific individuals sampled in this investigation and other areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, the Indo-Pacific, and with sequences previously reported in Colombia (Buenaventura Port), as well as 4 unique haplotypes. Population assignment and paternity analyses detected 3 parent-offspring pairs between Malpelo and Sanquianga and 1 between Malpelo and Utría. These results indicate high genetic connectivity between Malpelo Island and the Colombian Pacific coast, suggesting that these 2 areas are nurseries for S. lewini. This is, to our knowledge, the first evidence of nursery areas identified for the scalloped hammerhead shark anywhere in the world. Additional conservation planning may be required to protect these nursery habitats of this endangered shark species.


Publication title

Journal of Heredity










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Oxford Univ Press Inc

Place of publication

Journals Dept, 2001 Evans Rd, Cary, USA, Nc, 27513

Rights statement

Copyright The American Genetic Association 2015. All rights reserved.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania