Marine Biology

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 145–151

Effects of recruitment on genetic patchiness in the urchinEchinometra mathaei in Western Australia


  • R. J. Watts
    • Department of ZoologyThe University of Western Australia
  • M. S. Johnson
    • Department of ZoologyThe University of Western Australia
  • R. Black
    • Department of ZoologyThe University of Western Australia

DOI: 10.1007/BF01344280

Cite this article as:
Watts, R.J., Johnson, M.S. & Black, R. Mar. Biol. (1990) 105: 145. doi:10.1007/BF01344280


Enzyme polymorphisms in the sea urchinEchinometra mathaei were examined to test the relative influences of population turnover and patchiness in recruitment on genetic heterogeneity. We found that the total variance in allelic frequency among three populations separated by approximately 4 km at Rottnest Island, Western Australia (collected in February 1985) is as large as that among five additional samples collected over a distance of 1 300 km along the Western Australian coast in August 1987. This suggests that the forces causing genetic differentiation act on a local scale and occur in a single generation. A comparison of sites with different histories of recruitment indicates that the observed genetic differences among age groups are the result of prerecruitment effects, and that differences among sites reflect their individual histories of recruitment.

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© Springer-Verlag 1990