MEPS 442:201-215 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09329

Age-structured genetic analysis reveals temporal and geographic variation within and between two cryptic rockfish species

Martha O. Burford1,2,*, Mark H. Carr1, Giacomo Bernardi1

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
2Present address: Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, 100 North University Drive, Edmond, Oklahoma 73034, USA

ABSTRACT: The spatial patterns of genetic structure among juveniles of long-lived species can reveal the extent of interannual and geographic variation in realized larval dispersal as well as the processes that determine ecologically relevant patterns of population connectivity. However, few studies examine this temporal and spatial variation over large portions of a species’ geographic range or between cryptic species that overlap in their range. Despite the potential for long-distance dispersal in blue rockfish Sebastes mystinus, a previous study of adults revealed two geographically distinct, cryptic species. To determine year-to-year variation in the patterns of spatial connectivity and to elucidate the potential ecological mechanisms involved in shaping new year-classes and maintaining cryptic species, we sampled juveniles within California, USA, where both cryptic species coexist. Using microsatellite markers, we found geographic and temporal variation in the number of individuals from these distinct cryptic species within 2 new year-classes of juvenile S. mystinus. We also found differences in the geographic patterns of genetic structure of the 2 cryptic species. Whereas one species exhibited little or no spatial genetic structure across the study region, the other exhibited a complex geographic pattern of genetic structure, with little or no genetic structure among regions, but small-scale structure within a region. The results of this study demonstrate that the spatial scales and patterns of realized dispersal of pelagic larvae vary geographically, interannually, and between closely related species with similar life-history strategies. Therefore, estimates of dispersal based on larval duration and patterns of adult structure need to be interpreted cautiously.


KEY WORDS: Cryptic species · Range expansion · Ecological genetics · Local adaptation · Sebastes spp.


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Cite this article as: Burford MO, Carr MH, Bernardi G (2011) Age-structured genetic analysis reveals temporal and geographic variation within and between two cryptic rockfish species. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 442:201-215. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09329

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