Genetic and morpho-physiological differentiation in a limpet population across an intertidal gradient

Helgoland Marine Research. 2018;72(1):1-10 DOI 10.1186/s10152-018-0519-1

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Helgoland Marine Research

ISSN: 1438-387X (Print); 1438-3888 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

Society/Institution: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Oceanography | Science: Biology (General): Ecology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS

Jesús Darío Nuñez (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata)
Pedro Fernández Iriarte (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata)
Emiliano Hernán Ocampo (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata)
Enrique Madrid (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata)
Maximiliano Cledón (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 3 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Marine organism adaptive capacity to different environmental conditions is a research priority to understand what conditions are important in structuring the spatial distribution of natural populations. In this context, this study evaluates whether potential differences in Siphonaria lessonii morphology (size and shell shape) and physiology (water loss regulation) at different shore heights are linked to genetically distinguishable individuals. To achieve this goal, we compared size-frequency distribution, morphometric, and genetic data (ISSR-PCR technique) of S. lessonii from the upper, middle and lower shore. We complemented these field samplings with laboratory experiments on water loss and mortality. Genetic analysis showed different genetic composition for individuals from the upper and lower shore. This pattern was accompanied by morpho-physiological variations: the upper shore had fewer small limpets, lower shell shape dispersion (with a morphotype characterized by a higher shell), and less water loss and mortality related to air exposure than the lower shore. The results reported herein support the idea that the extreme and unpredictable conditions of the upper shore may impose strong selection pressure on its inhabitants, leading to considerable morpho-physiological differentiation consistent with different genetic composition. This probably plays an important role in structuring the spatial distribution of natural S. lessonii populations with a possible effect on size-structure distribution.