High connectivity among locally adapted populations of a marine fish (Menidia menidia)
Clarke, Lora M.
Munch, Stephan B.
Thorrold, Simon R.
Conover, David O.
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KeywordAtlantic silverside; Connectivity; Gene flow; Local adaptation; Menidia menidia; Northeastern U.S. Coast; Otolith chemistry; Population structure
Patterns of connectivity are important in understanding the geographic scale of local adaptation in marine populations. While natural selection can lead to local adaptation, high connectivity can diminish the potential for such adaptation to occur. Connectivity, defined as the exchange of individuals among subpopulations, is presumed to be significant in most marine species due to life histories that include widely dispersive stages. However, evidence of local adaptation in marine species, such the Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia, raises questions concerning the degree of connectivity. We examined geochemical signatures in the otoliths, or ear bones, of adult Atlantic silversides collected in 11 locations along the northeastern coast of the United States from New Jersey to Maine in 2004 and eight locations in 2005 using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and isotope ratio monitoring mass spectrometry (irm-MS). These signatures were then compared to baseline signatures of juvenile fish of known origin to determine natal origin of these adult fish. We then estimated migration distances and the degree of mixing from these data. In both years, fish generally had the highest probability of originating from the same location in which they were captured (0.01–0.80), but evidence of mixing throughout the sample area was present. Furthermore, adult M. menidia exhibit highly dispersive behavior with some fish migrating over 700 km. The probability of adult fish returning to natal areas differed between years, with the probability being, on average, 0.2 higher in the second year. These findings demonstrate that marine species with largely open populations are capable of local adaptation despite apparently high gene flow.
Author Posting. © Ecological Society of America, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of Ecological Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ecology 91 (2010): 3526–3537, doi:10.1890/09-0548.1.
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