MEPS 405:163-174 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08517

Fucus vesiculosus and spiralis species complex: a nested model of local adaptation at the shore level

Emmanuelle Billard1,2,3,4, Ester Serrão3, Gareth Pearson3, Christophe Destombe1,2, Myriam Valero1,2,*

1Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) Station Biologique de Roscoff, Equipe Biologie Evolutive et Diversité Marine (BEDIM), UMR 7144, BP 74, 29682 Roscoff Cedex, France
2Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Station Biologique de Roscoff, Equipe Biologie Evolutive et Diversité Marine (BEDIM), UMR 7144, BP 74, 29682 Roscoff Cedex, France
3Centro Ciências do Mar (CCMAR), Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigaçao Marinha e Ambiental (CIMAR), Universidade do Algarve, Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
4Present address: Laboratoire Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales (GEPV), Université Lille 1, UMR 8016, 59655 Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Intertidal rocky shores provide classic examples of habitat-driven divergent selection. We show that the species complex Fucus vesiculosus L./F. spiralis L. is composed of 3 distinct genetic entities that have evolved along different time scales. Using assignment tests based on microsatellite markers and performed on randomly sampled individuals in 2 separate geographic regions (Portugal and France), we reveal that F. spiralis consists of 2 genetic entities that have distinct vertical distributional patterns along the intertidal gradient of selective pressures. Individuals assigned to the cluster found higher on the shore are also morphologically different. They are smaller and bushy, with dichotomous ramifications and no sterile rime around receptacles. Patterns of genetic divergence suggest different times and pathways to reproductive isolation. Divergence between F. vesiculosus and the F. spiralis complex seems to have occurred first, coinciding with divergence in reproductive mode; dioecy versus selfing hermaphroditism. Later, in the hermaphroditic lineage, parallel evolution of 2 co-occurring genetic clusters may have been driven by natural selection and facilitated by high selfing rates in the F. spiralis complex.


KEY WORDS: Environmental gradient · Speciation · Fucus spp. · Gene flow · Genetic cluster


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Cite this article as: Billard E, Serrão E, Pearson G, Destombe C, Valero M (2010) Fucus vesiculosus and spiralis species complex: a nested model of local adaptation at the shore level. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 405:163-174

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