Marine Biology

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 275–281

Size-dependent, spatial and temporal genetic variation at a leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) locus among blue mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) populations along a salinity gradient

  • J. P. A. Gardner
  • N. L. Palmer

DOI: 10.1007/s002270050393

Cite this article as:
Gardner, J. & Palmer, N. Marine Biology (1998) 132: 275. doi:10.1007/s002270050393


Biochemical genetic variation at a leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) locus is related to salinity variation in several marine bivalve molluscs. This paper details an investigation of the Long Island Sound model of LAP selection (LAP genotype-dependent mortality occurring among newly settled Mytilus edulis mussels) carried out in 1997 among three M. galloprovincialis mussel populations along the salinity gradient of Wellington Harbour, New Zealand. Significant LAP genotypic heterogeneity was observed at the LAP locus between small (<25 mm shell length) and large (>25 mm shell length) M. galloprovincialis from Petone and Eastbourne (the two sites experiencing the greatest salinity variation), whereas genotypic heterogeneity was not significantly different between small and large mussels from Seatoun (the site experiencing the least salinity variation). The Lap3 allele decreased in frequency and the Lap4 allele increased in frequency at Petone and Eastbourne, whereas the Lap3 and Lap4 allele frequencies remained effectively constant at Seatoun. Both these findings are consistent with the Long Island Sound model of selection. At all three locations, the Lap3,3 genotype decreased in frequency from small to large mussels, whereas the Lap3,4 genotype increased in frequency from small to large mussels. All other LAP genotypes occurred at low frequencies (<0.10) at all three locations and showed no evidence of frequency change from small to large-size mussels nor evidence of clinal change among the three locations. These genotype frequency data possibly indicate that the Lap3,3 genotype is at a selective disadvantage compared to the Lap3,4 genotype at all three locations, and that this selective disadvantage is related to the extent of salinity variation which exists at each location. Further investigation is required before it can be determined if the Long Island Sound model of selection best describes the size-dependent and location-specific changes in LAP allele and genotype frequencies along this salinity gradient. Comparison of the population genetic structure at the LAP locus in 1995 and in 1997 revealed a profound change from heterozygote excesses to heterozygote deficiencies for all three M. galloprovincialis populations. The reason for the change is unknown, but the change indicates that population genetic structure at the LAP locus is highly variable in time, but consistent in space, among these M.␣galloprovincialis populations.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. A. Gardner
    • 1
  • N. L. Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Island Bay Marine Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, P. O. Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand Fax: +64 4383 8284; e-mail:

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