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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 477:107-121 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10158

Seascape genetics of the New Zealand greenshell mussel: sea surface temperature explains macrogeographic scale genetic variation

Kaijian Wei1,2, Ann R. Wood2, Jonathan P. A. Gardner2,*

1College of Fisheries, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, PR China
2Centre for Marine Environmental & Economic Research, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
*Corresponding author.  Email:

ABSTRACT: Polymorphic microsatellite markers were employed to assay genetic variation in 14 populations of the endemic New Zealand greenshell mussel Perna canaliculus, which is continuously distributed across ~11.5° of latitude. Previous population genetics assessments of this species have identified a pronounced and ~1.3 million year old genetic discontinuity at ~42°S, just south of Cook Strait, the major break between the North and South islands. In addition to this genetic structuring, the present seascape genetics analysis of 7 environmental and 3 geospatial variables revealed that sea surface temperature (SST) explains far more genetic variation (among populations and individuals) than any other variable. Genetic variation across the full distributional range of P. canaliculus is, therefore, best explained by SST, which suggests that a contemporary temperature-related selective force is acting on greenshell mussels from the subtropical north to the cold temperate south. The identification of this association between environmental and genetic variation highlights how previously unrecognised patterns of genetic structure may be revealed by the examination of environmental variation and provides important leads for new research directions.


KEY WORDS: Perna canaliculus · Microsatellite markers · Population genetic variation · Environmental variation · Coastal processes


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Cite this article as: Wei K, Wood AR, Gardner JPA (2013) Seascape genetics of the New Zealand greenshell mussel: sea surface temperature explains macrogeographic scale genetic variation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 477:107-121. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10158

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