, Volume 839, Issue 1, pp 51–69 | Cite as

Wave exposure as a driver of isolation by environment in the marine gastropod Nucella lapillus

  • Belén Carro
  • María QuintelaEmail author
  • José Miguel Ruiz
  • Rodolfo Barreiro
Primary Research Paper


The way adaptive and neutral genetic variation is shaped by environmental factors is crucial for evolutionary biology. To investigate whether wave exposure can enhance local adaptation on littoral snails, AFLP markers were scanned across ten populations of Nucella lapillus from contrasting habitats (protected vs. exposed). As some 6% of the analysed loci deviated from neutral expectations, it was suggested that wave exposure could be a strong selective agent shaping genetic variation. Neutral markers described a pattern of “Isolation by distance (IBD) only” with no signature of Isolation by environment (IBE), whereas loci under divergent selection followed a pattern of “IBD and IBE”, as Partial Mantel tests detected a significant IBD after accounting for environmental differences. The topology of genetic networks revealed a substantial gene flow at neutral markers (i.e. dense net with edges connecting similar and contrasting habitats), whereas few connections were established between contrasting environments at loci under divergent selection. Furthermore, loci correlated to phenotype (shell shape; i.e. a morphological biomarker of wave exposure) explained up to ca 11% of the variance of this trait. Altogether, our results suggest that, even in a context of gene flow, local adaptation could outline a feature such as shell shape.


Isolation by distance Isolation by environment Wave exposure Marine snails Shell shape Genotype–phenotype correlations 



We thank Carlos Caramelo for his help during field work, Javier Cremades for assisting us to determine wave exposure, and François Besnier and José Álvarez-Castro for their help with NOIA analyses. We are also grateful to Alex Richter-Boix and Gernot Segelbacher for their insightful comments on an early version of this manuscript. Financial support for this work was provided by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia of Spain, Grant CTM2004-04496/MAR (partially co-founded by FEDER, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional); and Xunta de Galicia, Grant PGIDT05PXIC10302PN. BC acknowledges fellowships from Universidade da Coruña and Deputación da Coruña.

Supplementary material

10750_2019_3993_MOESM1_ESM.docx (65 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 65 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BioCost Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Population GeneticsInstitute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway

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