Marine Biology

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 407-419

First online:

Post-glacial population history and genetic structure of the northern clingfish (Gobbiesox maeandricus), revealed from mtDNA analysis

  • M. J. HickersonAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA e-mail: Fax: +1-919-6846168
  • , J. R. P. RossAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA

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Mitochondrial d-loop sequences were analyzed to characterize the phylogeographic and population genetic structure of the northern clingfish (Gobbiesox maeandricus Girard). Sequence analysis of 378 bp from 111 individuals sampled in 14 localities along the northeast Pacific coast and within the Strait of Georgia from 1996 to 1999 revealed marked genetic differentiation (Φct=0.247) among regional population groupings. The gene genealogy distinguished two major clades of haplotypes separated by at least 1.1% sequence divergence. One clade with very low haplotype diversity (h=0.2095, n=18) occurred only within the recently unglaciated Strait of Georgia. The other clade had high haplotype diversity (h=0.8808, n=93) and was found in all populations. High haplotype diversity was found in open coastal populations, both north and south of the maximum extant of the Wisconsin ice sheet, suggesting that the clingfish range was not pushed to a southern refugium during the last glacial maximum. A nested clade analysis also did not detect a large northward expansion from a single southern refugium. The level of sequence divergence and coalescent-based analyses suggest that the observed patterns of polymorphism are the result of Pleistocene diversification within multiple refugia, followed by population expansion and asymmetrical lineage introgression.