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Characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba

Rui Candeias1, Sara Teixeira1*, Carlos M Duarte23 and Gareth A Pearson1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre of Marine Sciences, CCMAR-CIMAR, University of the Algarve, Gambelas Campus, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal

2 Instituto Mediterraneo de Estudios Avanzados, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Baleares, Spain

3 The UWA Ocean Institute and School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, 6009 Crawley, Australia

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BMC Research Notes 2014, 7:73  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-73

Published: 3 February 2014



The Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba is a pelagic crustacean, abundant in high-density swarms (10 000 – 30 000 ind/m2) with a circumpolar distribution and a key role in the food web of the Southern Ocean. Only three EST derived microsatellite markers have been used in previous genetic studies, hence we developed additional highly polymorphic microsatellite markers to allow robust studies of the genetic variability and population differentiation within this species.


The microsatellite markers described here were obtained through an enriched genomic library, followed by 454 pyrosequencing. A total of 10 microsatellite markers were tested in 32 individuals from the Antarctic Peninsula. One of the tested loci was fixed for one allele while the other was variable. Of the remaining nine markers, seven showed no departure from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The mean number of alleles was 14.9.


These markers open perspectives for population genetic studies of this species to unravel genetic structure, dispersal and population biology, vital information for future conservation.

Antarctic krill; Genetic diversity; Euphausia superba; Pelagic invertebrate; Microsatellites