MEPS 472:257-273 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09797

Genetic structure of European flounder Platichthys flesus: effects of both the southern limit of the species’ range and chemical stress

I. Calvès1, E. Lavergne1,2, A. L. Meistertzheim3, G. Charrier4, H. Cabral5, B. Guinand6, L. Quiniou1, J. Laroche1,*

1Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UMR 6539, CNRS/IRD/UBO, Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin LEMAR, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Plouzané, France
2Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Sektion Ichthyologie, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur l’Environnement Méditerranéen (CEFREM), UMR 5110 CNRS/UPVD, Université de Perpignan, France
4University of Gothenburg, Department of Marine Ecology, Tjärnö, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden
5Centro de Oceanografia, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
6Université de Montpellier II, UMR CNRS 5554, Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution de Montpellier (ISE-M), Département de Biologie Intégrative, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The genetic structure of European flounder Platichthys flesus populations was analysed in the southern part of the species’ distribution area, from England to Portugal; samples were collected in 5 estuaries which were chosen because of their latitudinal cline, the level of contaminants and the possibility of hypoxia: the Tamar in England; the Canche, Seine and Vilaine in France; and the Mondego in Portugal. Analysing the variability of a mitochondrial marker (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I), we observed (1) a moderately higher nucleotide diversity in the Tamar and Canche, reflecting the probable existence of a major refugium in this sector during the last glacial maximum, and (2) a reduced genetic differentiation over the whole data set. The use of 8 microsatellites underlined the maintenance of genetic diversity in the peripheral population of the Mondego, located near the southern limit of the species’ range; furthermore, significant pairwise differentiations of populations including Mondego underlined the particular genetic status of this Portuguese population. The polymorphism of a candidate gene involved in energetic metabolism, AMP-deaminase isoform 1, was investigated focusing on exon 1; we found the highest heterozygosities in the more polluted populations (Seine, Tamar) and marked differentiations compared to the other group of populations (Mondego, Vilaine, Canche). The pattern of variability observed for the AMP-deaminase suggests that in chronically contaminated flounder populations, cocktails of pollutants act as selective agents directly or indirectly on this locus.


KEY WORDS: European flounder · Estuaries · Genetics · Peripheral population · Climate change · Pollution


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Cite this article as: Calvès I, Lavergne E, Meistertzheim AL, Charrier G and others (2013) Genetic structure of European flounder Platichthys flesus: effects of both the southern limit of the species’ range and chemical stress. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:257-273. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09797

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