Study on genetic structure of Omani lobster earns praise

Muscat - 

An abstract on an Omani lobster species, submitted by a PhD student from the Centre of Excellence in Marine Biotechnology (CEMB) at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) has earned accolades at the latest edition of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS) conference, held recently in Cape Town, South Africa. 

WAS conferences are recognised as the premier aquaculture conference and exhibition bringing together a wide variety of aquaculturists from the commercial, academic and government sectors, stated a press release.

Study

The abstract submitted by Rufaida Dhuhai al Breiki was titled ‘A genetic Structure Study of the Scalloped Spiny Lobster (Panulirus homarus) from Oman’.

Omani people are very attached to the sea where fishing has been an important income source. Among different fisheries, the scalloped spiny lobster Panulirus homarus has high socio-economic value for many fishermen from Sharqiyah to Al Wusta and Dhofar governorates. However, a sharp decline in landings (2,000 tonnes in the 1980s to only about 416 tonnes in 2015) of this species has been reported over the last three decades.

For the successful fishery management of the scalloped spiny lobster, it is vital to understand the population genetic structure. The study has been conducted to provide necessary genetic knowledge which may contribute to the maintenance of P homarus population in Oman.

The study was conducted by utilising, for the first time in this species, genome-wide genetic markers, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, and it provides novel insights into the genetic structure of P homarus populations across the Omani coast. Findings of the study suggested that the lobster stock from Shuwaymiyah may represent a distinct stock.

Through her oral presentation, Rufaida highlighted the importance and findings of a research that was funded by The Research Council of Oman.

The study involved collaboration with research team from James Cook University in Australia, academics, research assistants and students from SQU and the Marine Science and Fisheries Centre from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Oman. The abstract submitted by Rufaida has been selected as one of the best three abstracts submitted by international students, and it received student travel award.

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