Effects of a complex archipelago on genetic subdivision of the intertidal limpet Siphonaria kurracheensis

Michael Johnson, S.L. Bentley, S.S. Ford, M.T. Ladyman, G.J. Lambert

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    Allozyme variation in the intertidal limpet Siphonaria kurracheensis was examined in 11 populations from the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, and four from the adjacent mainland, to test if the effects of these islands on genetic subdivision should include species with high dispersal. Consistent with extensive planktonic dispersal, genetic subdivision was low, with an average standardized variance in allelic frequencies (F-ST) of 0.010 over 400 km along the mainland, and 0.009 over 70 kin in the Abrolhos Islands. Nevertheless, subdivision was statistically significant at the smallest scale examined (about 10 kin), showing a pattern of local heterogeneity and large-scale homogeneity, which is common in planktonic dispersers. Among the island populations, heterozygosity was positively correlated with a multivariate index of exposure. The level of heterozygosity at the most exposed island sites is equivalent to that at the (also exposed) mainland sites, whereas it is lower in the most sheltered island sites, Although this indicates that some island populations are less well connected to the major pool of larvae, the overall effect of the archipelago on genetic subdivision is no greater than occurs on the mainland coast. This is contrary to findings in previously studied species with less potential for dispersal, suggesting that the local impediments to dispersal are selective in their effects, and are unlikely to be broadly important for genetic divergence in widely dispersing species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1087-1094
    JournalMarine Biology
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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