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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 376:269-281 (2009)  -  DOI:

Spatial and temporal boundaries to gene flow between Chaenocephalus aceratus populations at South Orkney and South Shetlands

Chiara Papetti1, Emanuele Susana1,2, Tomaso Patarnello1,3, Lorenzo Zane1,*

1Department of Biology, University of Padova, Via G. Colombo 3, 35121 Padova, Italy
2Centro Analisi Chimiche Srl, Via Avogadro 23, Rubano 35030 (PD), Italy
3Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, Agripolis 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The black-fin icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus is among the most abundant fish species on the Antarctic continental shelves of the Scotia Arc, and Bouvet Island. We genotyped 11 microsatellite loci in C. aceratus population samples from South Orkney, southern South Shetlands, and Elephant Island (northern South Shetlands) collected in 2002 and 2006. This investigation further develops a previous study on the species reporting the presence of one panmittic population in southern South Shetlands and Elephant Island, with genetic differentiation between year classes. Our results reveal a more complex pattern of differentiation than shown previously, as genetic differences occur both at the temporal level at Elephant Island and at the geographic scale between southern South Shetland–Elephant Islands and South Orkney population samples. In particular, the magnitude of genetic differentiation at the temporal scale, the relatively high effective population size (Ne) and high gene flow indicate that genetic differentiation is not only driven by geographic distance. At present, our results should be taken into account when defining conservation measures and management boundaries in regions where fishery is still open or where other Antarctic fish species are still exploited.

KEY WORDS: Chaenocephalus aceratus · Icefish · Southern Ocean · Microsatellite · Automatic allele calling · Geographic and temporal differentiation · Gene flow · Ne

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Cite this article as: Papetti C, Susana E, Patarnello T, Zane L (2009) Spatial and temporal boundaries to gene flow between Chaenocephalus aceratus populations at South Orkney and South Shetlands. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 376:269-281.

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