Cossu, Piero and Dedola, Gian Luca and Scarpa, Fabio and Sanna, Daria and Lai, Tiziana and Maltagliati, Ferruccio and Curini-Galletti, Marco and Casu, Marco (2015) Patterns of spatial genetic variation in Patella ulyssiponensis: insights from the western Mediterranean marine ecoregion. Hydrobiologia (in press). ISSN 0018-8158. Article.
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Patterns of genetic variation in marine species reflect the interplay of species-specific traits, oceanographic features, historical processes and selection. In the Atlantic–Mediterranean regions, Patella ulyssiponensis (Mollusca: Gastropoda) was previously used as a model to investigate these patterns. Our study gained insight into the genetic patterns of P. ulyssiponensis in the western Mediterranean marine ecoregion (WME), by means of ISSRs and COI. We evaluated the genetic structure of the WME with respect to the Atlantic and eastern Mediterranean, as well as the occurrence of further structuring within this ecoregion. Both population- and individual-based analysis evidenced that WME does not appear to be sharply isolated from the adjacent regions. Within the WME, P. ulyssiponensis displays a pattern of genetic structure that may reflect a chaotic patchiness scenario: structuring is neither related to coastal distance nor to other factors that may constrain dispersal. Compared to the congener P. ferruginea, P. ulyssiponensis shows weaker spatial genetic structure, which may reflect a higher dispersal potential coupled with greater population effective size. Whilst other processes that may have influenced the genetic pattern in the WME remain to be cleared, a recent range expansion coupled with species-specific traits favouring larval dispersal may have contributed to the genetic structuring.
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