Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Marine Science


Nishad Jayasundara, Kristina Cammen

Committee Members

Mark Haggerty, Heather Hamlin, Paul Rawson

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


Aquaculture is a growing industry in Maine, and identifying new species with potential for aquaculture is crucial for its continuing success. The University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) currently holds a stock of California yellowtail (Seriola lalandi). Similar in taste to tuna or mackerel, yellowtail are wild-caught as well as aquacultured in net pens and recirculating aquaculture systems worldwide. The fish presently at CCAR originally came from Great Bay Aquaculture and their genetic makeup is unknown. Recent research on S. lalandi suggests that this circumglobal fish has enough genetic difference between populations in the Northeast Pacific, Northwest Pacific, and the Southern hemisphere to classify them as three distinct species. In this study, three fin clips and onemuscle sample were taken from three individuals for DNA analysis. PCR amplification was performed for the mitochondrial control region and two nuclear genes (RAG2 and EHHADH). The results were sequenced and compared to published sequences for yellowtail stocks in the Northeast Pacific, Northwest Pacific, and the Southern hemisphere. This analysis found that there were at least two genetically distinct stocks in the population at CCAR, with two individuals matching published sequences from the Northeast Pacific clade and one individual matching published sequences from the Southern hemisphere clade, with higher variability in the mitochondrial haplotypes compared to the nuclear sequences. By understanding the genetic makeup of the yellowtail housed at CCAR, future genetic and physiological studies can be done to determine which stock of fish is better suited to aquaculture.