Bockrath Katherine

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Phylogeographic structure and northward range expansion in the barnacle Chthamalus fragilis

2015-04-30 , Govindarajan, Annette F. , Buksa, Filip , Bockrath, Katherine , Wares, John P. , Pineda, Jesus

The barnacle Chthamalus fragilis is found along the US Atlantic seaboard historically from the Chesapeake Bay southward, and in the Gulf of Mexico. It appeared in New England circa 1900 coincident with warming temperatures, and is now a conspicuous member of rocky intertidal communities extending through the northern shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The origin of northern C. fragilis is debated. It may have spread to New England from the northern end of its historic range through larval transport by ocean currents, possibly mediated by the construction of piers, marinas, and other anthropogenic structures that provided new hard substrate habitat. Alternatively, it may have been introduced by fouling on ships originating farther south in its historic distribution. Here we examine mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I sequence diversity and the distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes of C. fragilis from 11 localities ranging from Cape Cod, to Tampa Bay, Florida. We found significant genetic structure between northern and southern populations. Phylogenetic analysis revealed three well-supported reciprocally monophyletic haplogroups, including one haplogroup that is restricted to New England and Virginia populations. While the distances between clades do not suggest cryptic speciation, selection and dispersal barriers may be driving the observed structure. Our data are consistent with an expansion of C. fragilis from the northern end of its mid-19th century range into Massachusetts.