Comparative Phylogeography of North American Atlantic Salt Marsh Communities
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- Díaz-Ferguson, E., Robinson, J.D., Silliman, B. et al. Estuaries and Coasts (2010) 33: 828. doi:10.1007/s12237-009-9220-6
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Identifying differential population structure within metacommunities is key toward describing the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in natural systems. At both local and regional scales on the North American Atlantic coast, we assessed phylogeographic and genetic diversity patterns of six common salt marsh invertebrates using equivalent sampling schemes and sequence data from the same mitochondrial locus. In general, our results suggest little genetic structure across four previously sampled biogeographic regions and a slight increase in genetic diversity from northern to southern areas; however, two of the species (Geukensia demissa and Uca pugilator) exhibited significant differentiation between the northernmost populations and other regions, consistent with a number of previous studies. Although the minimal genetic structure recovered in this community is consistent with expectations based on the larval life history of the species examined, confirmation of this result suggests that latitudinal shifts in ecological interactions in salt marsh systems are environmentally driven, rather than due to heritable adaptation.