Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Institute History (VIMS)

Publication Date



VIMS 75th Anniversary Alumni Research Symposium


Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA


Species delimitation is becoming increasingly objective and integrative. Sequence capture approaches allow collection of 1000s of loci for 100s of individuals. New approaches address the computational challenges of large datasets and offer potential for genome-wide sampling of variation at different evolutionary scales. These new approaches also allow integration of genetic and non-genetic data in a unified framework. Despite these advances, few studies have attempted to combine genetic and morphological data for delimiting species. Hakes (Merluccius spp.) are an ideal group for an empirical test of the power and applicability of these new methods because they are morphologically conserved and have distributional patterns ideal for studying a broad range of evolutionary questions. They also are of economic and conservation concern so the results of this phylogenetic study can be directly applied to fisheries management. Hakes are demersal fishes that inhabit the continental shelf and slope of the Atlantic, Pacific, and around New Zealand and there are 16 putative species. Hakes can be difficult to identify due to their conservative external morphology and high level of intraspecific variation, resulting in serious identification problems. Many species of hakes are sympatric and there is moderate ecological overlap. Unresolved alpha taxonomy and the lack of diagnostic characters have led to mixed-species in landings data, making management and conservation difficult. This study uses a broad taxonomic and geographic sampling combined with new morphological and genetic characters to clarify the taxonomy, systematics and the global biogeography and diversification of hake species.


Poster, VIMS 75th Anniversary, Institute History, Alumni, Taxonomy, Fisheries