Genetic population structure in the Antarctic benthos: insights from the widespread amphipod, Orchomenella franklini

Helena Phoenix Baird, Karen Joy Miller, Jonathan Sean Stark

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23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Currently there is very limited understanding of genetic population structure in the Antarctic benthos. We conducted one of the first studies of microsatellite variation in an Antarctic benthic invertebrate, using the ubiquitous amphipod Orchomenella franklini (Walker, 1903). Seven microsatellite loci were used to assess genetic structure on three spatial scales: sites (100 s of metres), locations (1-10 kilometres) and regions (1000 s of kilometres) sampled in East Antarctica at Casey and Davis stations. Considerable genetic diversity was revealed, which varied between the two regions and also between polluted and unpolluted sites. Genetic differentiation among all populations was highly significant (F ST = 0.086, R ST = 0.139, pem≈1 suggesting insufficient gene flow to prevent independent evolution of the two regions, i.e., Casey and Davis are effectively isolated. Isolation by distance was detected at smaller scales and indicates that gene flow in O. franklini occurs primarily through stepping-stone dispersal. Three of the microsatellite loci showed signs of selection, providing evidence that localised adaptation may occur within the Antarctic benthos. These results provide insights into processes of speciation in Antarctic brooders, and will help inform the design of spatial management initiatives recently endorsed for the Antarctic benthos.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere34363
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

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