, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 73-82
Date: 04 Aug 2006

Population genetics of Collisella subrugosa (Patellogastropoda: Acmaeidae): evidence of two scales of population structure

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Marine invertebrate populations usually show high levels of genetic variability that has frequently been associated with spatial and temporal environmental heterogeneity. One of the most heterogeneous marine environments is the intertidal zone, the habitat of Collisella subrugosa, the most widespread and abundant Brazilian limpet. C. subrugosa has planktonic larvae that can disperse over long distances, what can promote gene flow among shores, working against interpopulational differentiation. In this study we investigated the genetic variability and populational substructure of C. subrugosa through analysis of 24 allozyme loci in 14 samples (590 individuals) collected along 2,700 km of the Brazilian coast. The genetic variability was high (\( \bar {H}_{{\text{e}}} = 0.199 \) and \( \bar {H}_{{\text{o}}} {\text{ = 0}}{\text{.087}} \)), as expected for intertidal species. Genetic differentiation among samples was low (F ST = 0.03) what may reflect intensive gene flow associated with larval dispersal. However, we detected an isolation-by-distance pattern of population substructure in one sampled region. High levels of heterozygote deficiency were also observed for many loci in each sample. Alternative hypothesis are discussed, and the “breeding groups” is suggested to explain these pattern, indicating the main cause as environmental heterogeneity.