Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 7, pp 1393–1406 | Cite as

Patterns of genetic variation across the distribution range of the cockle Cerastoderma edule inferred from microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA

  • Luisa Martínez
  • Ruth Freire
  • Alberto Arias-Pérez
  • Josefina Méndez
  • Ana InsuaEmail author
Original Paper


The edible cockle Cerastoderma edule is an ecologically and economically important species found along the northeastern Atlantic coast. In this study, microsatellite and mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene variation was examined in 19 localities across the species’ distribution range to test whether the patterns of genetic diversity, population structure and demographic inferences deduced from the cytochrome oxidase I gene in a previous study were supported by these molecular makers. High levels of genetic diversity were detected, with allelic richness, heterozygosity and haplotype diversity, showing different geographic patterns. Through Bayesian clustering analysis, Fst estimates and AMOVA, microsatellites indicated the existence of a southern group of populations that expands up to France, a northern one composed of localities from Denmark to Russia plus one from Scotland, and a third central group comprising localities from Ireland, Great Britain and southern North Sea. Regarding the cyt b gene, Fst data supported the pattern inferred from microsatellites, but haplotype distribution and AMOVA revealed a different three-group scenario where the central group includes only the southern North Sea localities. Both marine currents and historical processes, such as a recent population expansion of the southern group, the existence of northern cryptic refugia during Pleistocene glaciations and secondary contact between the southern and northern groups of populations, may explain the genetic composition of C. edule populations. Overall, the available data suggest that in C. edule nuclear markers and even different mitochondrial genes reacted differently to the same population history.


Last Glacial Maximum Selective Sweep Mismatch Distribution Sequential Bonferroni Correction Great Britain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are especially grateful to M. Krakau for providing tissue from most cockles used in this study. We also thank H. Hummel, O. van Hoesel, T. Rábade and M. García Romero for sampling support and J. García Gil for technical assistance. This work was funded by a Grant (RZ2006-00005-00-00) from Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spain). L. Martínez was supported by a predoctoral FPU fellowship from Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spain).

Supplementary material

227_2015_2676_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (514 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 513 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Martínez
    • 1
  • Ruth Freire
    • 1
  • Alberto Arias-Pérez
    • 1
  • Josefina Méndez
    • 1
  • Ana Insua
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioloxía Celular e Molecular, Área de Xenética, Facultade de CienciasUniversidade da CoruñaA CoruñaSpain

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