Hierarchical population genetic structure in a direct developing Antarctic marine invertebrate
Understanding the relationship between life-history variation and population structure in marine invertebrates is not straightforward. This is particularly true of polar species due to the difficulty of obtaining samples and a paucity of genomic resources from which to develop nuclear genetic markers. Such knowledge, however, is essential for understanding how different taxa may respond to climate change in the most rapidly warming regions of the planet. We therefore used over two hundred polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) to explore population connectivity at three hierachical spatial scales in the direct developing Antarctic topshell Margarella antarctica. To previously published data from five populations spanning a 1500 km transect along the length of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, we added new AFLP data for four populations separated by up to 6 km within Ryder Bay, Adelaide Island. Overall, we found a nonlinear isolation-by-distance pattern, suggestive of weaker population structure within Ryder Bay than is present over larger spatial scales. Nevertheless, significantly positive Fst values were obtained in all but two of ten pairwise population comparisons within the bay following Bonferroni correction for multiple tests. This is in contrast to a previous study of the broadcast spawner Nacella concinna that found no significant genetic differences among several of the same sites. By implication, the topshell's direct-developing lifestyle may constrain its ability to disperse even over relatively small geographic scales.
Authors: Hoffman, J.I., Clarke, A., Clark, M.S., Peck, L.S.