Dr. Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta graduated in Biology at the University of Basque Country (Spain), performed a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Montreal (Canada), worked as a research associate at the University of Newcastle (UK) and as a platform bioinformatics specialist at CIC bioGUNE (Spain).

Since 2011, she works as senior researcher at the Marine Ecosystem Functioning Area of the Marine Researc Division at AZTI, where she manages the Molecular Biology Laboratory and leads the Molecular Ecology research line. She is interested in applying molecular evolution and ecology, genomics and bioinformatics for a sustainable management and use of the marine resources. 

CCMAR ● Campus de Gambelas ● Faro ● Portugal ● email:

Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus L.) and Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are widely distributed fish that perform extensive migrations between spawning and feeding grounds. Within the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, mackerel include two or three spawning components respectively, though, it is not clear if components within each side are genetically differentiated and if, consequently, this species exhibits a natal homing behavior. On the other hand, this species has expanded its northern limit, with new feeding areas found in Icelandic and Greenlandic waters in recent years; yet, the origin (western or eastern Atlantic) of individuals caught in the northern limit of the species is unclear. A correct management of this species requires determining connectivity among spawning components within each side of the Atlantic and developing a traceability tool to assign origin of individuals caught in feeding grounds. The Atlantic bluefin tuna spawns in two main areas (the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea), but individuals mix extensively in the Atlantic Ocean and can even cross from the west to the east coast. Yet, management of this species assumes two stocks, one at each side of the 45°W meridian. A correct management of this species requires a traceability tool that can assign individuals caught in the mixing areas to their birth place. Here, we have assessed homing behavior in Atlantic mackerel and Atlantic Bluefin tuna through population structure analyses of reference samples (larvae, young of the year and spawning adults) using Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) discovered and genotyped through restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq). For Bluefin tuna, we have derived a panel of 96 SNPs that has been, after technical and biologically validation, applied to assign origin of one thousand Bluefin tuna individuals captured throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Overall, our study provides critical advice on connectivity among spawning areas and supply valuable traceability tools for effective management of these two species.


Connectivity and traceability in mackerel and bluefin tuna: providing advice and tools for management