Maltagliati, Ferruccio and Domenici, Paolo and Franch Fosch, Clara and Cossu, Piero and Casu, Marco and Castelli, Alberto (2003) Small-scale morphological and genetic differentiation in the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontidae) from a coastal brackish-water pond and an adjacent pool in northern Sardinia. Oceanologica Acta, Vol. 26 (1), p. 111-119. ISSN 0399-1784. Article.
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Two samples of Aphanius fasciatus collected in the Pilo pond (northern Sardinia, Italy) and in an adjacent pool of small surface area were analysed morphologically (235 individuals) and genetically (a subsample of 58 individuals). The aims of the present study were (i) to test the hypothesis that different predation pressures may be associated with morphological and/or genetic differences between samples from each habitat and (ii) to assess the level of divergence between the two populations. Morphological analysis was based on the relative size of fins because it has been shown to be associated with predation pressure. The relative caudal fin area (caudal fin area/total body surface) was smaller in specimens from the pool, in both males and females, whereas no differences were found for the dorsal and anal fin areas. Caudal fins with higher aspect ratio (fin depth/fin length) were found in fish from the pool but not in the pond, due to a higher fin depth. We hypothesised that specimens from the pool would show smaller caudal fin area, since they are subject to lower predation pressure. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis revealed a relatively high degree of both within- and between-sample genetic heterogeneity. The pond and pool samples exhibited heterozygosities, which did not differ significantly by t-test. Between-sample genetic divergence was highlighted by the coancestry coefficient (θ = 0.301 ± 0.059, P < 0.001) and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) (variance between SITES = 41%, P < 0.001). Genetic divergence between sites with a relatively high genetic diversity within both samples suggested that the population in the pool did not originate from a single colonisation event with a small number of founders. The genetic divergence between the two populations is consistent with their differences in fin size.
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