Unexpected Fine-Scale Population Structure in a Broadcast-Spawning Antarctic Marine Mollusc
Several recent empirical studies have challenged the prevailing dogma that broadcast-spawning species exhibit little or no population genetic structure by documenting genetic discontinuities associated with large-scale oceanographic features. However, relatively few studies have explored patterns of genetic differentiation over fine spatial scales. Consequently, we used a hierarchical sampling design to investigate the basis of a weak but significant genetic difference previously reported between Antarctic limpets (Nacella concinna) sampled from Adelaide and Galindez Islands near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. Three sites within Ryder Bay, Adelaide Island (Rothera Point, Leonie and Anchorage Islands) were each sub-sampled three times, yielding a total of 405 samples that were genotyped at 155 informative Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs). Contrary to our initial expectations, limpets from Anchorage Island were found to be subtly, but significantly distinct from those sampled from the other sites. This suggests that local processes may play an important role in generating fine-scale population structure even in species with excellent dispersal capabilities, and highlights the importance of sampling at multiple spatial scales in population genetic surveys.
Authors: Hoffman, Joseph I., Clarke, Andy, Clark, Melody S., Fretwell, Peter, Peck, Lloyd S.