Population genetics of dwarf eelgrass Zostera nolti throughout its biogeographic range

JA Coyer*, OE Diekmann, EA Serrao, G Procaccini, N Milchakova, GA Pearson, WT Stam, JL Olsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The marine angiosperm Zostera noltii (dwarf eelgrass), an important facilitator species and food source for invertebrates and waterfowl, predominantly inhabits intertidal habitats along eastern Atlantic shores from Mauritania to southern Norway/Kattegat Sea and throughout the Mediterranean, Black and Azov seas. We used 9 microsatellite loci to characterize population structure at a variety of spatial scales among 33 populations from 11 localities throughout the entire biogeographic range. Isolation by distance analysis suggested a panmictic genetic neighborhood of 100 to 150 km. At the global scale, a neighbor-joining tree based on Reynolds distances revealed strongly-supported groups corresponding to northern Europe, Mauritania and the Black/Azov Sea; separate Mediterranean and Atlantic-Iberian groups were poorly supported. Clones (genets with multiple ramets) were present in most populations but were generally small (ca. <3 m(2)). Exceptions were found in Mauritania (ca. 29 m in length), the Azov Sea (ca. 40 m in length) and the Black Sea (ca. 50 m in length). Although genetic diversity and allelic richness generally decreased from Mauritania to Denmark, the putative post-glacial recolonization route, both were unexpectedly high among populations from the German Wadden Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume281
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • seagrasses
  • Zostera noltii
  • genetic structure
  • clonality
  • genets
  • ramets
  • ice age
  • microsatellites
  • phylogeography
  • INTERTIDAL SEAGRASS BEDS
  • DUTCH WADDEN SEA
  • POSIDONIA-OCEANICA
  • POSTGLACIAL COLONIZATION
  • BALTIC SEA
  • HYDROPHILOUS ANGIOSPERMS
  • SEASONAL-VARIATION
  • MARINE ANGIOSPERM
  • NORTH-ATLANTIC
  • F-STATISTICS

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