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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 455:111-122 (2012)  -  DOI:

Genetic signatures of rafting dispersal in algal-dwelling brooders Limnoria spp. (Isopoda) along the SE Pacific (Chile)

Pilar A. Haye1,*, Andrea I. Varela1,2, Martin Thiel

1Departamento de Biología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, and Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), Coquimbo, Chile
2Present address: School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: Brooding marine isopods of the genus Limnoria inhabit and feed on kelp holdfasts and wood. These substrata have high floating potential, making these species ideal organisms to study the effects of rafting-mediated connectivity on the population structure of brooders living on rafting substrata. It is hypothesized that rafting leaves particular genetic signatures such as low differentiation among distant local populations and absence of isolation by distance (IBD) at a macro-geographic scale (thousands of km). Using cytochrome oxidase I (COI) sequences, we tested the effects of rafting-mediated gene flow with respect to genetic differentiation on L. quadripunctata (from wood and also the holdfasts of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera) and L. chilensis (mainly from the bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica) sampled across 2400 km of the Chilean coast. Analyses of COI data for both species indicated low differentiation between distant locations along the Chilean coast and lack of IBD, bearing the expected genetic signatures of rafting dispersal. Phylogenetic analyses were performed with COI and the nuclear gene 28S to place the genetic diversity of Chilean Limnoria spp. into a wider geographical context. Both markers revealed that L. quadripunctata from Chile is a sister clade to other Limnoria spp. analyzed (L. chilensis, L. segnis, and L. stephenseni), which mainly inhabit D. antarctica. L. chilensis from Chile and subantarctic islands form a tight monophyletic group. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses show that along the studied area, L. quadripunctata and L. chilensis have the genetic signatures of relatively recent or ongoing rafting.

KEY WORDS: Peracarids · Rafting · Biogeography · Mitochondrial DNA · COI · 28S · Phylogeny · Phylogeography

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Cite this article as: Haye PA, Varela AI, Thiel M (2012) Genetic signatures of rafting dispersal in algal-dwelling brooders Limnoria spp. (Isopoda) along the SE Pacific (Chile). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 455:111-122.

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