Marine Biology

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 105–112 | Cite as

Genetic population structure of a species' complex of blue mussels (Mytilus spp.)

  • S. K. Sarver
  • D. W. Foltz


Blue mussels representing two nominal species (Mytilus trossulus Gould, 1850 and Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 were collected from 28 intertidal locations along the Pacific coast of the USA in 1990–1991 (total N=1255) and examined for variation at 15 allozyme loci. Twelve samples, mostly from a region of suspected hybridization, were analyzed for variation in seven shell characters. Principal-components analysis of allozyme data revealed three groups based on first principal-component scores, which were identified as M. trossulus, M. galloprovincialis, and hybrids. Canonical discriminant analysis of shell characters was less successful in separating mussels into discrete groups. Each location was characterized for four environmental variables: (1) temperature, (2) salinity, (3) tidal height and (4) degree of exposure to wave action, which were then used as independent variables in a series of multiple-regression analyses, with the proportions of the two species as dependent variables. Temperature and salinity had significant (P<0.05) effects on the macrogeographic distribution of the two species, whereas the effects of height in the tidal zone and degree of wave exposure were not statistically significant. Salinity was found to have a greater influence than temperature on the microgeographic distribution of the two species. M. trossulus was more abundant at locations with lower temperatures and greater salinity variation than M. galloprovincialis. The two species appear to be ecologically distinct, and their genetic integrity is at least partly the result of environmental heterogeneity.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Sarver
    • 1
  • D. W. Foltz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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